PH posts 2,638 new coronavirus cases as total tops 359,000

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 19) — Coronavirus cases in the country rose to 359,169 on Monday, after the Department of Health announced 2,638 more people had been infected.

Of the nationwide count, 42,191 or nearly 12 percent are active cases or currently ill patients.

The case report showed Quezon City tallied 141 new infections. Other areas which logged the highest rise in cases were Cavite (140), Laguna (128), Batangas (120), and Rizal (108).

The department added that 226 more patients had recovered, with the number of survivors reaching 310,303.

Meanwhile, 26 more fatalities brought the country’s COVID-19 death toll to 6,675. Among the newly-reported deaths, 15 occurred in October, while 11 were recorded in July to September.

According to the DOH, 16 testing laboratories failed to submit their reports on time and were not included in Monday’s count.

It added that 87 duplicates were removed from the overall tally as part of its data cleaning process, including 76 recoveries and three deaths. Five cases mistakenly reported as recoveries were also retagged as deaths after final validation.

Despite the still high daily COVID-19 count in the country, infectious diseases expert Dr. Benjamin Co assured that most of these infections are backlogs or cases that occurred from March to September.

"We tallied 18,000 cases last week. We have 163 cases per million in the past week. France has 178,000 cases last week. They have 65 million people and they have 2,741 cases per million," said Co, which he said the Philippines ranks in the middle classification of World Health Organization in the number of national COVID-19 cases.

In line with the national government's appeal to further help businesses recover, Metro Manila, except for Navotas City, is set to trim curfew hours to 12 a.m. to 4 a.m., instead of the current 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Navotas' curfew will remain at 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

READ: Navotas not keen on shortening curfew amid IATF appeal

Metro Manila Council Chairman and Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez said mayors are set to amend local ordinances on curfew within the week.

The local executives will also tighten quarantine age restrictions in the capital region after they contested the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19's eased rules allowing persons aged 15 to 65 to go out. Olivares said the mayors decided only Metro Manila residents between 18 to 65 years old can leave their homes.

Co supports the NCR mayors' suggestion to extend the community quarantine measures until Dec. 31 to not waste the efforts of everybody in containing the virus in the region. He added Metro Manila tallied 796 cases last week, 555 of which were considered 'fresh' or the infection happened in the last 14 days.

"NCR has been doing very well the past week," the infectious diseases expert noted.

Among Filipinos abroad, the Department of Foreign Affairs said three more were infected while another two patients have recovered. The total tally stood at 11,152, with 7,201 survivors, while the death count remained at 812.

Around 40 million people globally have contracted COVID-19, based on the US-based Johns Hopkins University tracker. This includes over 1.1 million fatalities and some 27.5 million recoveries.