The Philippines once again broke its own record for the highest number of COVID-19 cases reported in a single day after the Department of Health (DOH) announced 6,352 new infections on Tuesday, bringing the total to 112,593 confirmed cases.
This is the first time that a single day’s new infections tally breached 6,000.
The DOH said 2,560 of those were fresh cases and 3,792 were reported late.
The Philippines still has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases across Southeast Asia after Indonesia with 113,134 infections as of Monday.
Meanwhile, the country aims to immunize at least 3 percent of its 100-million population from COVID-19 through a global vaccination facility, Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña said Tuesday.
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At least 3 percent of the population should be immunized for COVID-19 under the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility, Dela Pena said.
"We have already reserved 3 percent of vaccines that will become available, corresponding to 3 percent of our population or 3 million vaccines to ensure we have supplies once it becomes available," Dela Peña said during a Palace press briefing.
The Philippines last month joined the facility, which the World Health Organization described as a "mechanism designed to guarantee rapid, fair, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide."
As for the cost of the country's participation in the WHO program, Dela Peña said the government estimates the vaccine to cost at $10 each or around P500.
Outside of COVAX, the Philippines can procure vaccines from other sources should these be developed first, he said.
The five areas with the highest number of new cases were Metro Manila with 3,139; Laguna with 592; Cavite with 550; Rizal with 277; and Cebu with 261.
The total number of recoveries also rose to 66,049 after 240 more patients recovered from the respiratory disease.
The death toll climbed to 2,115 since the pandemic started, with 11 newly reported deaths Tuesday.
Some 44,429 are active cases that are being treated or quarantined. Of these cases, 91.2 percent have mild symptoms, 7.5 percent are asymptomatic, 0.8 percent are severe, and 0.6 percent are in critical conditon.
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The DOH said figures reported on Tuesday were based on data submitted by 80 out of the 94 operational laboratories. With PNA
The department also removed 89 duplicate cases from the total tally of infections.
As of Aug. 3, the Philippines had 74 certified polymerase chain reaction facilities and 24 GeneXpert laboratories that had tested 1,502,668 people.
About 67 percent of intensive care unit beds for COVID-19 patients nationwide were occupied. A total of 61 percent of isolation beds and 69 percent of ward beds were also occupied, while 30 percent of mechanical ventilators were in use.
Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways said 23 additional quarantine facilities in Metro Manila were under construction and should be ready by the end of August.
DPWH Secretary Mark Villar cited the urgency of the projects as the DOH recently announced that COVID-19 hospital bed occupancy in the National Capital Region (NCR) has reached “danger zone” of more than 70 percent occupancy.
"Our DPWH team is working on expediting the construction of isolation facilties that can accommodate patients with mild symptoms so that severe and critical cases can be prioritized in NCR hospitals," Villar said.
Also on Tuesday, the Joint Task Force COVID Shield announced that motorcycle back or pillion riding would be allowed in Metro Manila for authorized persons outside of residence (APOR) and essential workers, subject to certain conditions.
Task force commander, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, said the motorcycle pillion riding in Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal would be allowed to make up for the suspension of public transportation under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) that went into effect Tuesday.
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“Since public transportation is not allowed in Metro Manila and the four provinces under MECQ from August 4 to August 18, motorcycle back-riding will be an essential mode of transportation to ensure that no front-liners and other essential workers would be stranded as they go out to report to work and on their way back home,” Eleazar said.
Based on guidelines issued by the Philippine National Police (PNP), motorcycle back riding in MECQ areas will be allowed under the following conditions: 1) The back rider/passenger is an essential worker or APOR and the travel is work-related even if the driver and the passenger are not related; 2) -The motorcycle has the prescribed barrier between the driver and the passenger; and 3) The motorcycle is privately-owned, is not for hire and was not hired during the trip.
He said motorcycle riders and passengers should present their IDs proving that they are essential workers and APOR and that their travel is work-related at various checkpoints that will be set up. With PNA