COVID-19 cases top 11,000 in Philippines

MANILA (XINHUA) – The Philippines’ daily tally of new COVID-19 infections rose by 292 yesterday, increasing the total number of COVID-19 cases to 11,086, said the Philippine Department of Health (DoH).

The DoH further said deaths from the virus climbed to 726 as seven more patients have died. Seventy-five more patients have recovered from the disease, bringing the number of recoveries to 1,999.

Among all the infections, 162 cases or 56 per cent of the daily cases were reported in Metro Manila.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will announce his decision on whether the quarantine restrictions will be eased or remain in place after May 15 when the lockdown period lapses, the country’s Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque told an online media briefing yesterday.

Roque said Duterte’s decision will be based on science. “This will be a reasoned decision, a scientific decision, and it is not based on politics or in any other considerations. It will be based on science,” he added. Whatever the decision of Duterte will be, Roque said the reality is that Metro Manila and some parts of the country will still be under quarantine.

“We are still under community quarantine. Life will not be back to normal until a vaccine is discovered. Whether it be enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or general community quarantine (GCQ), we are still under community quarantine.”

Restrictions under GCQ or regions with low-risk infections are relatively more relaxed than those under ECQ.

“The decision on whether or not we will shift from ECQ to GCQ is precisely the issue of ‘can we provide critical care to those who might get sick?’ Now, we can see that we have the capacity to take in more critical care patients, which is why there are areas that will be declared under GCQ and under ECQ but we have to be very careful,” he added.

In mid-March, the government placed several provinces and autonomous regions in the Philippines’ main island of Luzon, central and southern Philippines under quarantine due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country.