PH's COVID-19 tally hits 1M mark with 8,929 new cases

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 26) - The country's COVID-19 tally surpassed one million on Monday after 8,929 more people got infected, the Department of Health reported.

This makes the Philippines the second nation in the Southeast Asia region to have hit the grim milestone, next to Indonesia which now has over 1.6 million infections.

Of the 1,006,428 cases nationwide, 74,623 or 7.4% are active, according to the DOH bulletin. It added that 95.4% are mild, 1.4% are asymptomatic, 1.0% are critical,1.3% are severe, and 0.87% are moderate.

Meanwhile, the fatality count is now at 16,853, with new deaths declining, although remaining high, at 70. This means 1.67% of all confirmed patients had lost the battle against COVID-19.

The country also logged 11,333 more recoveries, bringing the total number of survivors to 914,952, which makes up 90.9% of the case count.

According to the DOH, the tally of infections likely could have been higher if the national capital region and other areas deemed as high-risk for COVID-19 weren't placed again under strict lockdown beginning late last month.

Both the department and the independent research group OCTA said the tighter restrictions in some areas have helped pull down the number of daily cases, which peaked at over 15,000 in early April. This surge has pushed hospitals in Metro Manila towards the brink of collapse, with many patients having been turned away due to full capacity. Some have had to stay in tents, or even inside a car, as they await admission.

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It wasn't only the number of infections that grew, as deaths also saw an unprecedented high this month. Over 3,500 new fatalities were recorded this April alone, with over a hundred confirmed dead almost daily since early April. The deadliest day of the pandemic came on April 9, with 401 reported killed by the virus.

But despite cases swelling past the one million mark, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said it is important to look at the high recovery count. He also noted that the country's case fatality rate is "lower than the world average."

Roque added that the Philippines has slid down in the world rankings in terms of total infections, from the previous 20th spot to the current 26th, which means other nations are also experiencing a surge in cases.

"I don't think it is a negative reflection," he said, referring to the one million cases. "On the other hand, dahil nga po meron tayong world ranking, makikita natin na [because of our world ranking, we can see] we are managing still the new variants rather well."

Besides reiterating the importance of public compliance with minimum health standards, the government has pinned its pandemic recovery hopes on the arrival of enough vaccines to inoculate the majority of the population.

It aims to immunize some 70 million Filipinos by the end of the year -- currently a seemingly distant target, considering the progress in the inoculation drive. Two months since it began, only around 1.3 million people nationwide have received the vaccine as of April 22, as the government hits a snag due to dwindling supply.

READ: PH needs to vaccinate over 350,000 daily to achieve COVID-19 target -- expert

Even so, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. earlier said he is hopeful the country will achieve the year-end goal with the arrival of more vaccines in the coming months.

Meanwhile, among overseas Filipinos, the Department of Foreign Affairs reported 16 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 18,253. It said four more recovered from COVID-19, raising the number of survivors to 11,194. The DFA added that 5,933 Filipinos are undergoing treatment.

There were no new reports of deaths among Filipino COVID-19 patients abroad, it said.