Philippines virus deaths hit 33; infected now at 462

MANILA, Philippines, March 24 ------ The Department of Health (DOH) yesterday reported 82 new cases of coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 in the country, the highest increase documented in one day, raising the total number of cases to 462.  The DOH said eight more deaths were recorded, bringing the total fatalities to 33. Only one patient recovered, raising the number of patients that have been cured to 18.

Health Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire said they expect the figures to increase as the testing capability for COVID-19 has been scaled up due to the arrival of donated test kits from abroad and those developed by Filipino scientists. Aside from this, sub-national testing laboratories have been identified to augment the testing capacity of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and University of the Philippines - Manila National Institutes of Health.  

“Maybe we are having an artificial rise because the backlogs in our laboratory capacity has been reduced. If we reach a stable laboratory capacity, we will see the real trend of cases in the country,” she maintained. DOH data showed the 18th patient to recover is a 54-year-old Filipino male (PH73) from Manila with travel history in Thailand and exposure to known COVID-19 cases. The patient manifested symptoms March 6 and was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on March 13. He was asymptomatic on March 21 after testing negative for the virus.

On the other hand, the fatalities include a 57-year-old Filipino male (PH281) from Mandaluyong City, a 71-year-old Filipino male (PH266) from Quezon City, a 73-year-old Filipino male (PH279) from San Juan City and an 89-year-old Filipino male (PH304) from Bulacan. The other deaths were: a 74-year-old Filipino male (PH328) from Quezon City, a 65-year-old Filipino male (PF333) from Quezon City, 78-year-old Filipino male (PH367) from Parañaque City and a 56-year-old Filipino male (PH349) from Parañaque City.  

Malabon Mayor Antolin Oreta III said a man in his 50s had tested positive for COVID-19 and is the city’s first recorded case. Malabon spokesman Bong Padua said the patient, a resident of Barangay Dampalit, is now in a hospital in Manila. The DOH also confirmed yesterday that a 61-year-old female worker from Italy is the first COVID-19 case in Baguio City.

Director Amelita Pangilinan of DOH Cordillera said the patient arrived in Baguio last March 2 and she was admitted to a local hospital on March 13. Two officials of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) went on self-quarantine yesterday following a meeting attended by a person who tested positive for COVID-19. In a statement, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said he would go on self-quarantine after attending a meeting with a COVID-19 positive patient last week.

Garcia said he was confident of not being infected because he practiced proper hygiene like wearing a face mask and proper hand washing. MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago also volunteered to go on self-quarantine since she attended the same meeting.