(August 1, 2020) – The Philippines on Saturday broke a new record in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, reporting nearly 5,000 infections, as the Duterte government allows more businesses to open to help the economy recover.
The Philippines has reported a soaring increase of cases for the third day after more than 3,900 cases were reported on Thursday and more than 4,000 cases on Friday. The 4,963 cases on Saturday was the highest in a single-day since the outbreak early this year.
The uncontrolled transmission has alarmed doctors which also called on the government to re-impose stricter curbs in Metro Manila as hospitals get overwhelmed. The doctors also asked the government to recalibrate its pandemic response.
A top government spokesman said the president “has heard the concerns of the medical community” and has directed the inter-agency task force on the pandemic “to act on these concerns immediately.”
“Your voices have been heard. We cannot afford to let down our modern heroes. This is our commitment,” he said in a statement, paying tribute to “the immense contributions to heal our people and our nation during these difficult times.”
Earlier, Harry Roque has thumbed down the proposals by the medical community saying the members of the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases had intensely debated on placing Metro Manila and nearby areas under an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
The change of heart came after several lawmakers called on the president to listen to the pleas of doctors and other health workers who were exhausted due to the current surge of hospital admissions from COVID-19 cases.
“It’s a very serious request which the government should take seriously in plotting out the next steps,” Senator Sonny Angara said. “If the doctors and our medical system is overwhelmed then the whole system and government strategy will surely be affected.”
Senator Panfilo Lacson said the doctors’ request is valid. “Putting human lives on top of all considerations is a no-brainer given the choice,” he added.
Vice President Leni Robredo, the top opposition leader, also supported the calls of the medical community to “recalibrate, restrategize and redirect policies on the pandemic response.
“If we do not pull our acts together, our healthcare system might collapse,” she said.
In its latest COVID-19 case bulletin, the health department said the country’s cumulative confirmed cases have risen to 98,232 from data submitted by 74 out of 94 laboratories nationwide.
The total number of active cases has risen to 39,928 after 65,265 have recovered and 2,039 have died from the disease. Most of the cases, about 88.9 percent, have mild symptoms and more than 9 percent were asymptomatic. The number of severe and critical cases also rose to 1.9 percent.
The health department said more 2,600 of these new cases were from the capital, which remained as the epicenter of the infections. It was followed by three provinces in the southern Tagalog region, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal with 405, 324 and 252 cases, respectively.
Cebu City reported 324 cases but the rate of transmission in the central Philippine’s largest city has slowed down, prompting the government to downgrade its lockdown status to GCQ.
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