MANILA (UPDATE) — The COVID-19 death toll in the Philippines breached the 5,000-mark on Tuesday as the country's confirmed infections climbed to 291,789.
The Department of Health recorded 1,635 additional COVID-19 cases, the lowest in about 2 weeks, as the number of patients who succumbed to the disease went up by 50 to 5,049.
The government has repeatedly pointed out that the number of deaths in the Philippines is much lower than that of other countries. Health officials attributed this to improved treatment guidelines set by the country’s medical societies.
The last time the newly-announced cases were lower than 2,000 was on September 7.
Of the 1,635 new cases, 583 were from the National Capital Region (NCR), 102 from Cavite, 97 from Iloilo, 67 from Rizal, and 57 from Cebu. Majority or 88% of these additional cases occurred in the last 2 weeks.
Of the 50 additional deaths, 76% occurred this month.
Meanwhile, a total of 34 duplicate cases, including 21 tagged as recovered, were removed from the official count.
“In addition, 2 recovered cases, found to be negative, were removed from the total case count after final validation,” the DOH said.
There were also 17 cases initially reported as recovered, that were later found out to be active cases (16) and a fatality.
The DOH said the following laboratories were unable to submit their data for Tuesday's tally:
- Bacolod Queen of Mercy Hospital
- Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium (TALA) - GeneXpert Laboratory
- Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital
- Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Medical Center
- Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center (GX)
- Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center (RT-PCR)
- Taguig City Molecular Laboratory
- The Doctors Hospital, Inc.
- Valenzuela Hope Molecular Laboratory
Previously, a low number of new cases being reported was attributed to the failure of laboratories to promptly submit data.
The agency did not explain the sharp decline in Tuesday's new confirmed infections -- whether it was because of a low number of tests conducted, or other factors.
Before today's drop in new cases, the daily tally of newly-announced cases was over 3,000 for the last two weeks.
The Philippines, nonetheless, still has the highest number of cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia.
The DOH also reported 450 additional recovered patients, or a total of 230,643 recoveries.
The number of active cases or current infections are 56,097.
Experts earlier said they are optimistic that the country's numbers in terms of new cases have stabilized and would decline eventually.
The DOH said on Monday that the delay in laboratory submissions no longer affect the daily tally since most are already complying with their requirements. Government experts though are still studying if the current number of cases is an accurate reflection of the actual COVID-19 situation in the country.
The UP OCTA Research Group earlier estimated that the Philippines would have 310,000 to 330,000 total COVID-19 cases by the end of September.
Since the start of the pandemic, 31.3 million people have been infected by the COVID-19 virus, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard. Of those, 965,000 have died and 21.5 million have recovered.