Philippines’ COVID-19 death toll up to 163, cases rise to 3,660

By JULIA MARI ORNEDO, GMA News

The total number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections across the Philippines rose to 3,660 on Monday after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed 414 new cases as authorities ramp up the country’s testing capacity.

The department also reported 11 more deaths from respiratory illness, bringing the death toll to 163.

Meanwhile, nine more people have recovered from the disease for a total of 73.

Ten laboratories across the country have already been certified to conduct independent COVID-19 testing, according to the DOH.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they will need four to five more days to conclude whether or not COVID-19 cases in the country have already peaked.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire explained that the number of recovered patients remains low since the Philippines only recently began expanding its testing capacity.

“Posible po na may mga mild cases or asymptomatic cases na hindi natin naitatala at higit na mas marami na pala ang gumaling sa COVID-19,” she said at virtual press briefing.

The undersecretary also noted that it may take up to two weeks for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms to recover, while more severe and critical cases can take between three to six weeks to heal.

Ten laboratories across the country have already been certified to conduct independent COVID-19 testing, according to the DOH.

The latest laboratories to receive accreditation were the Bicol Public Health Laboratory and St. Luke’s Medical Center Quezon City.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the DOH would need four to five more days to conclude whether or not COVID-19 cases in the country have already peaked.

“Hindi pa natin masasabi kung bumababa na ang curve sa ating bansa… kailangan pa po natin ng mas masusing pag-aaral,” Vergeire added.

Local industry to produce PPEs

Vergeire announced that the local garment and textile industry will begin producing personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers amid the global shortage of supply.

The Confederation of Wearable Exporters of the Philippines will lead the production of 10,000 PPE sets daily.

The health official said the raw, medical-grade materials will arrive on Thursday while production will begin after Holy Week.

The design prototypes of the PPEs had been approved by the DOH and Philippine General Hospital, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said earlier in the day.

3 quarantine facilities to open

The DOH also announced that three community quarantine facilities will begin operating this week.

The Rizal Memorial Coliseum, Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), and World Trade Center Metro Manila (WTCMM) will initially admit COVID-19-positive patients who are asymptomatic or only have mild symptoms.

The PICC can accommodate a maximum of 294 patients, WTCMM can admit 502, while the Rizal Memorial Coliseum can accept 112. —LDF/NB, GMA News


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