Philippines records 19,441 new cases


Residents of Quezon City continue their daily routine amid the Covid-19 surge in the National Capital Region. Photo by Mary Jane Cagurangan

The Philippine Department of Health on Saturday reported 19,441 new Covid-19 positive cases, breaking its record for the highest number of infections in a single-day tally.


It was the third time the country recorded new highest single-day tallies this month alone. The last time was just five days ago on August 23 when there were over 18,000 new cases, according to CNN Philippines.


The health department said at least 95.5 percent of active cases have mild symptoms, 1.8 percent are asymptomatic, 1.1 percent have severe symptoms, 0.99 percent are in moderate condition, and 0.6% are in critical condition.


The death toll also jumped to over 33,000, at 33,008 - which is 1.71% of the Covid-19 total - after 167 more people lost their lives to the disease. Meanwhile, 19,191 others recovered, bringing the survivor count to 1,760,013 - or 90.9% of the nationwide tally.


The positivity rate - or percentage of tested people with positive results - also rose to a new record-high of 27.5 percent based on 71,620 tests reported on Aug. 26. The rate has remained within a critical level or above 20 percent for 20 days straight, which calls for more testing.


Last week, Philippine health officials called for more targeted and recalibrated actions toward high-risk activities, as the National Capital Region and the provinces of Bataan and Laguna shift to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), so that some work and businesses can resume onsite operations.


The interagency Covid task force acknowledged that the country cannot always rely on quarantine classifications as it is costly to the economy and livelihood of people. People need to return to a safer and smarter workplace, and act prudently.


However, the DOH emphasizes that this does not mean lifting restrictions but rather, focusing on targeted restrictions and monitoring granular lockdowns and specific high-risk activities.


Under this quarantine classification, high-risk activities such as dine-in services, whether indoor or al fresco, and personal care services are still not allowed. Religious gatherings will also remain online during the MECQ.


Further, the latest projections suggest that the least number of active cases in the NCR is seen when there is an improvement in the vaccination, shortening the interval between symptom onset and isolation to at most six days, and compliance to the minimum public health standards.


“Based on the latest DOH and FASSSTER projections, active cases in NCR may reach up to 66,403 by Aug. 31 and 269,694 by Sept. 30 when ECQ will be extended for two more weeks while maintaining current levels of vaccination, PDITR strategies, and compliance to minimum public health standards," Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.


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