(July 16, 2020) – The total number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the Philippines has hit the projections ahead of its target by the end of month as infections rates rise swiftly in the last two weeks.
The cumulative tally has reached 61,000 on Thursday, two weeks earlier than an initial forecast by experts from the University of the Philippines.
The Department of Health (DOH) said a total of 2,498 new infections–the second highest single day jump–were recorded on Thursday, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte agreed to keep the general community quarantine (GCQ) in the capital region.
Last month, the University of the Philippines OCTA Research team projected 60,000 cases in the country by the end of July.
More than half of these, at 38,183, are considered to be active cases, the highest in the region.
The capital now has tallied more than 30,000 cases — half of which are still undergoing treatment.
Duterte’s spokesman, Harry Roque, has earlier warned residents in Metro Manila that if the virus spread would not be slowed down, stricter restrictions could be reimposed after two weeks.
Roque noted that the case doubling rate has been stagnating between seven to nine days. And if this should shorten, Metro Manila could return to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) despite appeals from local government officials.
The UP OCTA Research team had revised their forecast, that cases could now reach 70,000 to 80,000 by the end of the month, prompting recommendations for either MECQ or GCQ.
“Mas marami pang kaso na marerecord kesa sa initial forecast,” Roque had admitted, citing efforts in expanded testing.
A total of 29 more fatalities were tallied on Thursday, bringing the death toll to 1,643. More than half repored today hailed from Central Visayas.
On the other hand, recoveries continued to increase by 467 on Thursday, with the total now at 21,440.
But the health department warned of the possibility of reinfection.
“There is no strong evidence that people who have recovered and have antibodies are protected from a second infection,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire, citing the World Health Organization.
She also released the updated guidelines for those who could be considered close contacts of confirmed or probable coronavirus patients:
These are those who had contact at least two days before the onset of illness, up until they have received a negative test result.
They must also have had face-to-face contact, within one meter, for more than 15 minutes.
Also considered for close contacts are those who directly touched a patient, or those who administered direct care without the proper use of protective personal equipment.
All these are encouraged to report for quarantine. (Katrina Elaine Alba/MM)
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