The Philippines has breached the 1-million mark in COVID-19 cases on Monday, April 26.
The country’s Department of Health reported 8,929 new COVID-19 infections, bringing total cases in the country to 1,006,428.
From the peak of 203,710 active cases on April 17, the number of cases went down to 74,623 on Monday.
There were 70 new deaths recorded, pushing the death toll to 16,853 while recoveries increased by 11,333, raising the total to 914,952.
The Health department reported a positivity rate of 16.7% out of 45,863 tests.
On Sunday, April 25, independent research group OCTA reported that the average number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippine capital went down by 30 percent compared to three weeks ago.
The group said the national capital’s new daily COVID-19 cases averaged at 3,841 during the April 18 to 24 period, a 20 percent decline from the week before.
It is also 30 percent lower than the 5,552 daily average recorded three weeks ago, when the capital region was still under the most stringent form of community quarantine.
Reproduction rate in the capital has also dropped to 0.93, said the report.
The positivity rate, or the percentage of infected individuals out of all tested, has also declined from as high as 25 percent three weeks ago to about 19 percent over the past week.
The group, however, said the country should scale up its daily COVID-19 testing to at least 150,000.
Extend strict quarantine measures
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has expressed support for proposals to extend the “modified enhanced community quarantine” in the national capital and nearby provinces to help decongest hospitals in the region.
The strict quarantine measures in the capital remains in effect until Friday, April 30, unless the national government decides to extend it.
“If we look at the data, I think we need to keep MECQ for another week or two because our health systems’ capacity hasn’t significantly improved yet,” said Duque in a radio interview.
He said several cities still have their intensive care unit capacities at “critical” levels with more than 80 percent of beds occupied.
He said that while the number of COVID-19 cases have started to decline, the daily case averages over the last two weeks were still considered high.
Metro Manila remains the center of the country’s pandemic since the health crisis took hold in 2020.
The Health department said that as of April 24, Metro Manila still reported a health care utilization rate of 61.9 percent.