Marking eight months in various levels of lockdown, the Philippines logged 311,694 COVID-19 infections after recording 2,426 new cases on Wednesday.
The country was 21st worldwide in total coronavirus cases, just behind Pakistan but ahead of Germany, and remained the top country in Southeast Asia in infections ahead of Indonesia, according to a European Center for Disease Control tally.
The latest figures are within the University of the Philippines OCTA Research Group’s estimate of 310,000 to 330,000 cases by the end of September. Before Monday, the country has been logging less than 3,000 new cases daily for six straight days.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Wednesday said there are different factors contributing to the continued increase in cases.
For example, she said Negros Occidental, which often lands in the list of provinces with the most number of new cases, used to have COVID-19 patients who were mostly locally stranded individuals.
Now, there are already cases of community transmission there, she said.
Isolation rule may make people lie—DOH
The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said it is possible that people lie about symptoms or refuse to be tested for COVID-19 because of the government’s policy to send even mild and asymptomatic patients to facilities for isolation.
This can be remedied by properly explaining to people the benefits of staying in a temporary treatment or monitoring facility, the department said.
Earlier, Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19, composed of local medical societies, asked the government to reconsider the policy against home quarantine, saying the new rules could lead people to lie.
“I am not disagreeing with them. That is a possibility. But we just need to explain it to our citizens,” Vergeire said of the concerns raised by the various health groups.
Misdeclaration a problem
The misdeclaration by the patients of the date of the onset of illness was the main reason few COVID-19 infections were reported months after they happened, the DOH said on Wednesday.
Vergeire, during an online briefing, said the DOH recognizes the “gap” in their information system.
However, Vergeire said they are continuously working to make it more timely, accurate, and complete.
“The usual reason why there are still late reports would be the patients’ misdeclaration of the onset of illness.” Vergeire said.
Marawi sees a spike in infections
Marawi City has experienced a spike in COVID-19 infection, its mayor said Wednesday.
The city has recorded 300 cases, 103 of which are still active, Mayor Majul Gandamra said.
These include 80 health workers, he added.
Marawi is under a modified enhanced community quarantine, the second strictest of four lockdown levels.
2 antigen test kits being tested
The DOH on Wednesday said there are other kits still being studied by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) after the antigen test kit from South Korea-based SD Biosensor did not pass the government’s requirements.
The DOH said the RITM is currently evaluating two other antigen test kits from the United States: LumiQuick Diagnostic Inc.’s QuickProfile COVID-19 Antigen Test, and Quidel Corp.’s Sofia 2 SARS Antigen FIA.