COVID-19 cases in PH surge for second-straight day, rising to 1,418

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 29) — COVID-19 cases in the Philippines surged for the second-straight day, with the country reporting Sunday an additional 343 new cases of the viral disease, bringing the total of those who have contracted it to 1,418.

This is the largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases in the country, breaking the record set on Saturday, when the total number of cases surpassed 1,000.

The Health Department reiterated that the recent spike in cases after the government imposed a so-called enhanced community quarantine — essentially a lockdown — in Luzon is due to the expanded capacity for testing for COVID-19.

Hindi po nangangahulugang maging kampante na tayo,” Health Spokesperson Ma. Rosario Vergeire said. “Kung hindi po tayo susunod sa ating mga pamantayan katulad ng self-isolation, maaring patuloy lang tataas ang ating mga numero.

[Translation: This doesn’t mean that we should be complacente … If we won’t follow guidelines, like self-isolation, our numbers may just continue to rise.]

Three more patients died due to COVID-19, bringing the disease’s death toll in the country to 71, according to the Health Department.

All of the new fatalities did not travel abroad, are at least 70-years-old, have other underlying conditions and died even before they got their COVID-19 test results.

Among them are a 70-year-old Filipino man from Quezon City who had hypertension, diabetes mellitus and bronchial asthma.

Also among the new fatalities is a 71-year-old man from Iloilo who has hypertension, cardiac disease and dengue.

A 78-year-old man from Manila who had hypertension and chronic kidney disease is also among the COVID-19 patients who have just died.

The Health Department also reported seven new recoveries, all of whom are below 45-years-old, including a 13-year-old girl from Quezon City.

Worldwide, COVID-19 has killed more than 30,000 people, mostly in Italy, although the outbreak began in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Over 669,000 people have gotten sick, according to the Johns Hopkins University's COVID-19 global tracker.

To prevent the spread of the virus, authorities are urging people to practice regular hand washing with soap and water, cover their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and avoid close contact with those who exhibit symptoms of the virus.

In the Philippines, the northern region of Luzon has been placed under enhanced community quarantine, restricting people's movement, to contain the spread of the virus. Other local government units in the country have also shut their borders.

CNN Philippines’ Paolo Barcelon contributed to this report.