MANILA (UPDATE) – The Philippines listed at least 400,000 new COVID-19 cases in August 2021 as the country continues to battle one of Asia's worst coronavirus outbreaks amid the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant.
On July 31, 2021, the country had 1,588,965 total confirmed COVID-19 cases, as announced then by the Department of Health (DOH).
The Philippines logged its first confirmed COVID-19 case on Jan. 30 last year in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged.
Exactly a month later on Tuesday, the cumulative total jumped to 1,989,857, based on DOH COVID-19 daily bulletin.
It is an increase of over 400,000 within 31 days, which account for around 20 percent of the total recorded cases, according to ABS-CBN News Data Analytics head Edson Guido.
Meanwhile, the country also logged 9 highest freshly confirmed COVID-19 infections this month, peaking on Aug. 30 with 22,366.
These happened on the following dates:
- August 30 - 22,366
- August 28 - 19,441
- August 29 - 18,528
- August 23 - 18,332
- August 27 - 17,447
- August 20 - 17,231
- August 21 - 16,694
- August 26 - 16,313
- August 22 - 16,044
The Philippines also reported almost the number of new cases that the DOH recorded in the year 2020, he pointed out.
- Total cases logged in 2020 - 472,302
- January - 51,561
- February - 50,733
- March - 170,518
- April - 289,939
- May - 194,455
- June - 182,351
- July - 171,187
- August - 406,811
Other areas aside from the capital region, he said, are also contributing to the bulk of recent infections.
Testing output also increased at more than 68,000 samples tested daily in the last 7 days, he added.
He pointed out that while the National Capital Region (NCR) accounted for around 50 percent of the cases during the surge in April this year, at present, the region has only contributed below 30 percent.
Earlier in the day, the World Health Organization said the Philippines is experiencing community transmission of the COVID-19 Delta variant, which is now the dominant strain in the country.
More than "70 percent of the current transmission is attributable to the Delta variant," said WHO country representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe in an online press conference.
The country's first Delta variant cases were detected in May, while its first local cases of such variant were confirmed in July.
This entire month also saw the deaths of more than 5,500 due to COVID-19, active cases increasing by over a hundred percent, the country's highest positivity rate, and the highest ICU bed occupancy rate, noted Guido.
In an interview on ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo earlier in the day, Prof. Jomar Rabajante of the UP Pandemic Response Team said the Philippines might tally up to 30,000 daily fresh cases until end of September and infections may peak in early October.
"Ito pong projections namin, kung titingnan, lumalabas ang cumulative cases, possible tayo lumagpas ng 3 million at even 4 million bago matapos ang 2021," Rabajante said.
(Our projections show that our cumulative cases might reach more than 3 million, even 4 million before 2021 ends.)
The DOH also expects cases to increase in the "coming days or weeks" due to the high transmissibility of the Delta variant, its spokesperson, Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, said.
"Kailangan i-factor in din natin because this is the Delta variant... We are seeing that cases would still continue to come in until September po yan. Tsaka po natin makikita bumaba," she said.
(We have to factor in that this is the Delta variant... We are seeing that cases would still continue to come in until September and then it will decline.)
On Aug. 6-20, Metro Manila, home to around 13.5 million people, and Laguna were placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to arrest the spread of the disease.
Lockdown level was then shifted to the second strictest or modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until September 7 along with several other areas.
The country is also extending the travel ban from 10 countries until September 5.
The DOH has been urging the public to get vaccinated if they are already eligible for the COVID-19 jabs to avoid severe or critical cases that may need hospitalization.
As of Sunday, the Philippines has fully vaccinated 13.78 million people, which is 19.46 percent of the target to attain herd immunity against the disease.
At least 19.3 million Filipinos, meanwhile, have received their first dose.