The Philippines’ health department reported 18,332 new coronavirus infections on Monday, August 23, a record daily increase, and 151 deaths.
There are now 130,350 active cases of COVID-19 in the country. The total number of recorded cases rose to nearly 1.86 million with positivity rate at 24.9 percent, said the health department.
“Widespread lockdown or restrictions are no longer effective in the country,” said Maria Rosario Vergeire, spokesperson of the health department.
“It would be more effective if restrictions were loosened a bit and if lockdowns were more targeted,” she said.
Large numbers of Delta variant cases for which the source could not be traced had been detected in the capital region and nearby provinces, the health department said in a separate statement.
Authorities have for several weeks attributed the current rise in cases to the Delta variant, but genome sequencing capacity in the Philippines is limited, with only a few thousand samples processed weekly.
On Monday, the country’s genome center said it had detected an additional 466 Delta variant cases, bringing the number of people confirmed to be carrying the variant to 1,273.
The Philippines has recorded a total of 1.86 million COVID-19 cases, the statement said, a fifth of which were detected over the last 40 days.
Nearly 32,000 people in the Philippines have died with COVID-19, according to official data.
The number of active cases in the country increased to a four-month high of 130,350, the statement added. Of those recently tested, one in four tested positive, it said.
“We’re seeing roughly about almost 98 percent mild, moderate and asymptomatics for these COVID cases,” said Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega in a television interview.
“We’d seen the numbers of about 1.86 percent for the severe and critical [cases],” he said.
“This is kinda different from what we saw in April and last year when it was hovering about three percent for the severe and the critical,” he added.
Metro Manila’s intensive care unit bed capacity is, however, currently classified as high risk while healthcare utilization rate is in “moderate risk.”
Vega said COVID-19 vaccines prevent hospitalizations and severe cases, as he encouraged more Filipinos to join the government’s inoculation program.
As of August 22, the Philippines has fully vaccinated 13.13 million people or 18.5 percent of the target 70.85 million adult individuals.
About 17.26 million others have received their first dose. – with reports from Reuters