MANILA (UPDATE) — Total COVID-19 cases in the Philippines reached 324,762 on Monday, after the Department of Health (DOH) recorded 2,291 additional confirmed infections, bringing the country to the 19th spot among nations with the most number of cases.
The latest tally by the US-based Johns Hopkins University showed that the Philippines - the only Southeast Asian country among 20 countries with the most COVID-19 cases - is, as of 6pm Monday, tailing Italy, which has 325,329 infections, and has just 319 more cases than Turkey's.
The Philippines rose to the 20th spot on Oct. 1, when its cumulative total of coronavirus infections reached 314,079.
The DOH said 17 testing laboratories were unable to submit their data for Monday's report. There are 107 RT-PCR and 33 genexpert laboratories accredited by government for COVID-19 testing, as of Oct. 3.
Of Monday's additional cases, 87% occurred in the last 2 weeks.
Topping the list of areas with the most number of newly-announced cases are the National Capital Region (NCR) with 825, Batangas with 140, Laguna with 128, Rizal with 114, and Cavite with 102.
The DOH said the country has 45,799 active cases, as total recoveries climbed to 273,123 and the death toll, to 5,840.
The agency reported 87 additional recovered patients and 64 new COVID-related deaths, more than half or 34 of which happened in September.
A total of 26 duplicate cases, including 18 tagged as recovered, were removed from the official tally.
There were also 25 recovered cases reclassified as deaths.
Except for Oct. 4 and Sept. 28, the Philippines has been logging less than 3,000 cases a day since almost 2 weeks ago.
In the past, laboratory submissions affected the number of daily cases. But in the past several days, except today, only a few laboratories failed to pass their results to the central unit.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Monday morning acknowledged that the trend shows a lower number of COVID-19 cases in the last weeks.
“Ngayon, nag-a-average ng 2,400 cases, which is a trend for a 7-day weekly average,” she said, comparing it with the average of around 3,000 in the past weeks.
(Now, we are averaging 2,400 cases, which is a trend for a 7-day weekly average.)
However, she said Filipinos should not be complacent since there are still areas in the Philippines logging an increase in COVID-19 cases.
She said the improvements are due to changes in the government response and additional manpower for contact tracing.
Since the start of the pandemic, some 35.2 million people have been infected by the COVID-19 virus, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard. Of those, 1 million have died and 24.5 million have recovered.
The United States continues to have the most number of cases, with more than 7.4 million.
The Philippines recorded its first confirmed coronavirus infection on Jan. 30 in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged.