Philippines climbs to having most COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia as tally nears 120,000

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 06 2020 04:20 PM | Updated as of Aug 06 2020 06:13 PM

MANILA — The Philippines on Thursday climbed to having the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia, with 119,460, surpassing Indonesia's tally of infections.

Indonesia, which has more than twice the population of the Philippines, has 118,753 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of Aug. 6, of which, 37,587 are undergoing treatment. Another neighbor, Singapore, has a cumulative total of 54,555.

Data from DOH. Graph from ABS-CBN Data Analytics

The Philippines' health department reported 3,561 additional COVID-19 cases, the 6th highest number of new cases reported in a single day.

Majority of the additional cases are from the National Capital Region (2,041), followed by Laguna (222), Cebu province (221), Cavite (100), and Rizal (81).

With 569 additional recovered patients and 28 new COVID-related deaths, there are now 50,473 active cases in the country. Active cases refer to patients who are still infected with COVID-19 and are staying either in the hospital or under home quarantine.

Of the additional fatalities, 10 died in August, 16 in July, 1 in June and, 1 in May. Majority were from NCR (11 fatalities) and Region 7 (9), while the rest are from Region 11 (2), Region 9 (2), Region 4A (1), Region 6 (1), and Region 10 (1). There was one fatality that was listed with “unspecified region.”

The total number of recoveries is 66,837, while the death toll is 2,150.

The DOH said that of the additional cases, which were based on tests done by 89 out of 98 laboratories, majority or 77% occurred within the last two weeks. Of these recent cases, more than half (54%) came from NCR.

The DOH said it removed 81 duplicate cases from the previous tally.

“Of these, two (2) recovered cases have been removed. Moreover, one (1) case that was previously reported to have died has been validated to have recovered and was included in the count of new recoveries,” it said.

The Philippines has been logging record-high numbers in terms of new COVID-19 cases since late July, following the easing of quarantine measures and the gradual opening up of the economy. On Tuesday, additional COVID-19 cases reached 6,352.

Its first confirmed case was recorded on Jan. 30 in a Chinese woman who arrived from the Chinese city of Wuhan where the disease is believed to have first emerged.

The Philippines' cumulative total of COVID-19 cases also surpassed that of mainland China's several days ago.

The continuing spread of COVID-19 has led to doctors calling for a “timeout” or to revert to stricter measures, which the government partially granted. The DOH has vowed to collaborate with medical societies and to come up with new strategies in the next two weeks.

Researchers from the University of the Philippines and the University of Santo Tomas estimate that cases may reach 150,000 by the end of August.

TESTING

Just before it released its latest COVID-19 daily update, the DOH issued a press release saying that the Philippines has the most number of tested people in Southeast Asia.

As of Aug. 4, it said that 1,643,539 tests were already conducted in the country.

“This is significantly higher than Indonesia which has tested a total of around 908,000 as of August 4,” the DOH said. It pointed out that the Philippines has also tested “a significantly higher percentage (of the population) compared to Indonesia.”

The country's enhanced testing for the disease is being cited by the DOH among the factors contributing to the increase in COVID-19 cases.

Since the start of the pandemic, 18.8 million people have been infected by the COVID-19 virus, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard. Of those, almost 708,000 have died and 11.3 million have recovered.