Philippines’ COVID-19 cases rise to 12,513; recoveries now 2,635

May 18 ------ The Department of Health (DOH) announced 208 new cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on Sunday, bringing total infections nationwide to 12,513 on the first weekend of eased quarantine restrictions in most areas across the country. The DOH also reported 74 new recoveries, raising the total to 2,635, while the death toll climbed to 824 after seven more patients succumbed to the respiratory illness. Among the new cases, 174 or 83 percent were from Metro Manila, 33 or 16 percent were from various areas of the country, while 1 was from Region VII. The DOH also said that 7,889 or 88.4 percent of the country’s active cases were mild, 958 were asymptomatic, 56 were severe, while 24 were in critical condition. Aside from the confirmed cases, 1,102 individuals were also classified as probable COVID-19 cases while 23,685 others were suspects. The government’s COVID-19 task force earlier expressed alarm over the heavy traffic and lack of social distancing in several public places after quarantine measures were loosened. The World Health Organization previously warned that lifting lockdowns too early may lead to a “deadly resurgence” in infections. Testing capacity The DOH reported that 199,284 had been tested for COVID-19 as of May 14, with 91 percent testing negative and 9 percent testing positive. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) laboratory of the Zamboanga City Medical Center was also licensed last Friday, bringing the total number of PCR testing centers to 30. A total of 109 other facilities were undergoing the five-step laboratory accreditation process, 76 percent of which were already on Stage 3 and above. The country’s certified laboratories conducted 11,127 tests on May 15, the second-highest daily tests conducted after 11,509 on May 14. Source: