The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines climbed to 35,455 on Sunday after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 653 more infections—485 “fresh” or newly validated and 168 reported late cases.
The death toll climbed to 1,244 with eight new fatalities, while total recoveries rose to 9,686 after 258 more patients recovered from the disease.
Online news sites have analyzed data from the World Health Organization from June 26 to 28, arriving at the conclusion that for the said period, the Philippines had the fastest rise in new cases among 22 countries in the Western Pacific region.
For the 13-day period, the Philippines logged 9,655 new cases, followed by Singapore with 2,610.
The Department of Health, however, cautioned against cherry picking data.
“The comparison made with Singapore and other countries requires a deeper understanding of population ratio versus number of cases. Our socioeconomic context, particularly living conditions, as well as health system capacity, even prior to COVID, is different from Singapore. Please take that into account when we do our analysis,” the DOH said.
“Singapore has a population of 5.9 million, with a caseload of 43,246, the Philippines with 109 million with 34,803 cases. Per one million people, Singapore has a higher case rate at 7,393 cases /1M popn compared with Philippines at 318cases /1M popn.”
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the surge may have been because of “the delay in actions and responses, including contact tracing and aggressive research on medications.”
"IATF must address the health protocols and programs being done by the DOH. Something is very wrong,” Sotto said.
As of Sunday, among the fresh cases, 245 are from Metro Manila, 120 are from Region VII or Central Visayas, eight are repatriates, while the remaining 112 are spread out across the country.
Among the late cases, 111 are from Metro Manila, 11 are from Region VII, 21 are repatriates, and 25 other patients came from various areas nationwide.
The DOH said it removed two cases from the total tally of recoveries and one case from the total number of infections after validating the patients’ information.
As of June 26, the Philippines had 49 certified polymerase chain reaction facilities and 19 GeneXpert laboratories that had tested a total of 622,549 individuals.
Some 37.2 percent or 1,301 of intensive care unit beds for COVID-19 patients are occupied while 2,002 or 22.43 percent of mechanical ventilators are in use, the DOH said.
There were 24,137 active cases undergoing treatment or under quarantine, 23,090 of which are mild, 898 of which are asymptomatic, 125 of which are severe and 24 that are in critical condition.
Meanwhile, the provincial government of Pampanga raised the alarm after a sudden increase in the number of infections, days after the province was put under a modified general community quarantine (GCQ).
Pampanga recorded 133 cases of COVID 19 after the province was placed under MGCQ on June 16, said Gov. Dennis Pineda.
He said the provincial government is ready to recommend to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to bring the province back to an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) if cases continue to rise.
In a span of 10 days, Pineda said additional 25 new cases were reported – the highest increase recorded in the province so far.
The governor cited the resumption of work in Manila as a factor in the sudden increase of COVID cases. He said travel to the National Capital Region (NCR) and other neighboring provinces by Kapampangan workers could be one of the reasons for the rise in cases.
According to the Provincial Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (PESU), eight of the 25 new cases have a travel history to Metro Manila.
He urged residents of his province to follow health protocols and guidelines aimed at containing the virus.