The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday reported 630 more cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)— 467 “fresh” or newly validated and 163 reported late—bringing the total to 30,682.
The DOH also announced that total recoveries rose to 8,143 after 250 more patients recovered from the respiratory disease, while the death toll climbed to 1,177 with eight new fatalities.
READ: Virus cases exceed 30,000
This marks the fifth straight day of at least 400 fresh cases and 12th consecutive day of over 200 new recoveries.
Among the fresh cases, 149 are from Metro Manila, 164 are from Region VII or Central Visayas, one is a repatriate, while the remaining 153 are spread out across the country.
Among the late cases, 25 are from Metro Manila, 93 are from Region VII, while the 45 other patients came from various areas nationwide.
The DOH said the number of health workers infected rose by 253 last week, while newly recovered health workers were at 396 from June 14 to 20. COVID-related deaths remained at 33.
The department said there are 854 active cases among health workers.
Of those infected since the start of the outbreak, 1,126 are nurses, 811 are doctors, 212 are nursing assistants, 122 are medical technologists, 62 are radiologic technologists, 45 are midwives, 33 are respiratory therapists and 21 are pharmacists.
Also infected were 201 administrative staff, 94 utility staff, 49 dietary staff, 35 drivers, 29 barangay health workers, 19 security guards and 12 caregivers.
READ: PH death rate declining but new cases up
Still, fewer health workers are testing positive for COVID-19, the DOH said.
Meanwhile, confirmed COVID-19 cases among Filipinos abroad breached the 8,300 mark on Monday, with 2,160 cases in the Middle East and Europe. The Department of Foreign Affairs reported 10 new fatalities.
The DFA also said on Monday a total of 353 remains of overseas Filipino workers who died of various causes in Saudi Arabia are up for disposition.
Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Adnan Alonto said 107 of them died due to COVID-19.
Malacañang over the weekend said Filipinos who died due to COVID-19 will be buried in Saudi Arabia, while those who died of other causes will be repatriated to the Philippines.
Alonto said the delay in the repatriation of the remains was due to travel restrictions imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Despite the rising number of infections, the Palace said the situation was improving because of the lower fatality rate and the higher recovery rate.
READ: Critical care rate at 35%; cases near 30k
Palace spokesman Harry Roque said had the government not enforced the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the country, hundreds of thousands of people could have died due to the disease.
Roque said the country’s doubling rate of coronavirus cases has slowed down to seven days while the critical care utilization rate is around 35 percent.
The country’s testing output has also reached more than 10,000 a day with the positivity rate at 5 percent.
As of June 20, the Philippines has 46 certified polymerase chain reaction facilities and 17 GeneXpert laboratories that have tested a total of 547,373 individuals.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said that while the Philippines has sufficient test kits, the lack of other laboratory supplies is hampering the acceleration of testing in the country.
Of the 13,108 total bed capacity, Roque said the occupancy rate is 34 percent of the 1,298 ICU beds; 37 percent of 8,802 isolation beds; 35 percent of the 3,008 are beds. At least 19 percent of 1,941 mechanical ventilators are in use.
He said the country’s total 1,000-plus fatalities was a minor fraction of its 109 million population, which he said compares favorably with the experience of other countries.
READ: DOH targets to test 1.65M Pinoys end-July
“If the government did nothing, hundreds of thousands could have died like in other countries. Look at the cases in Brazil, they did not believe in social distancing so they are now number two in the world,” he added.
In related developments:
• Mayor Sun Shimura of the town of Daanbantayan, Cebu on Sunday said he tested positive for COVID-19. On his Facebook page, Shimura said he underwent a swab test on June 20 because he had a cough and a fever. On June 21, the results of the test came out showing that he was positive for the novel coronavirus.
* Senator Richard Gordon urged the Department of Transportation to open Subic Bay International Airport and divert flights carrying repatriated overseas Filipino workers there to facilitate testing and so they can immediately go home to their respective provinces. Gordon, chairman and chief executive of the Philippine Red Cross, said testing the incoming workers for COVID-19 would not be a problem with the newly opened PRC molecular laboratory in Subic and Clark, with a combined capacity of 4,000 tests a day. "More than 300,000 OFWs may be coming. Now we have an airport here and a seaport. So the others may be brought here and be tested,” Gordon said.