The Philippines recorded 339 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, the highest in the last month, while the number of new deaths rose to 27.
Thursday’s record-high number of new COVID-19 cases was the second consecutive day the country breached the 300 mark, bringing the total confirmed cases to 10,343.
READ: PH cases top 10,000, 2nd highest in SEA
On Wednesday, the DOH recorded 320 new cases. From April 7 to May 5, the number of new cases ranged from 102 to 295.
In Southeast Asia, the Philippines has the third most number of COVID-19 cases, next to Singapore and Indonesia.
Total fatalities climbed to 685 as of May 7, while the number of recoveries stood at 1,618, with 112 new recoveries.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Region 7 had 205 new cases, while Metro Manila had 110 new cases.
Vergeire said the surge in new cases was due to the boost in testing capacity and response measures to test, detect and isolate.
Vergeire and Dr. John Wong, an epidemiologist with the Inter-Agency Task Force’s (IATF) sub-technical working group on data analytics, said the Philippines is beginning to flatten the curve on infections, thanks to public cooperation on the ECQ.
“All our sacrifices in the past weeks did not go into naught. We are now seeing signs that the curve is being flattened. This means because of our cooperation in the initiatives of the government, we had started to slow down the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases so as not to overwhelm our hospitals and health system,” Vergeire said.
“But we should not be complacent. Our fight is not over. Aside from strengthening our national testing capacity, we will continue to focus on quarantine protocols, proper sanitation, physical distancing, use of PPEs like masks, and other preventive measures,” she added.
Wong said the data shows that the doubling time, or the time it takes for a metric to increase two-fold, has increased significantly for both new cases and deaths.
READ: Government to ramp up testing to 30,000 daily by end-May
“This means that the rate of increase for both these numbers has slowed down,” he said.
He also said that while there would be no decline in new cases just yet, once testing is ramped up nationwide, the government could buy the health system more time until a vaccine or cure is developed.
“When we relax the ECQ, we will see another surge of cases,” he said. With Willie Casas, Rio N. Araja
“We have to observe all the mitigation measures, that’s how we delay the appearance of a third wave,” he added.
“Right now, we are protecting each other by self-quarantining at home. We have to remember that we have to protect ourselves, protect our families, and protect each other by observing a one-meter distance, washing our hands, and wearing protective equipment.”
Dr. Anna Lisa Ong-Lim, the chief of the Infection and Tropical Disease department of the Philippine General Hospital and President of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines said there is no evidence yet that shows that an infected pregnant woman can pass the disease to her child, or what is known as vertical transmission.
READ: Hospitals decry lack of test hubs
Additionally, she said, there is no evidence yet of transmission through breastfeeding.
Nevertheless, close contact with the child still makes them susceptible to transmitting the disease, she said, and if the mother shows symptoms of any kind, health guidelines must be followed to keep the child safe.
In other developments:
* Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella ordered a total lockdown in Sitio Alaska, a congested and poor neighborhood in Barangay Mambaling due to the rising COVID-19 infections there. Sitio Alaska recorded 108 new confirmed COVID-19 cases Thursday. Barangay Mambaling had 539 cases as of the latest count Thursday.
* Quezon City had 1,464 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of May 6, 7 p.m., with 292 recoveries and 132 deaths.
* Four persons under custody of the Manila Police District (MPD) have tested positive for COVID-19. A quick response team conducted rapid testing of persons under custody in Sta. Ana, Manila, on April 27 where eight had tested positive for the virus. The patients have been brought to the Delpan Sports Complex in Tondo, Manila, while the four other persons under custody have been placed in the isolation area at the Sta. Ana Police Station.
* Senator Richard J. Gordon said the Philippine Red Cross’ COVID-19 testing centers are picking up speed as he noted that its testing capacity would expand to 20,000, with the opening of another testing center in Port Area, Manila this week and four others in Subic, Clark, Batangas and Los Banos in the next few weeks. Gordon, PRC chairman and CEO, reported that starting Monday, the test centers have been working work harder than the last two weeks because more samples are being turned in. With Willie Casas, Rio N. Araja