Philippines' new COVID-19 cases top 8,000 for 1st time since outbreak

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Representative image
Representative image

Manila [Philippines], March 22 (ANI/Xinhua): The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported on Monday 8,019 new COVID-19 cases, the highest number of daily infections since the outbreak began in January last year, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 671,792.

It is the first time that the Philippines breached the 8,000-mark of daily infections. The country has registered over 7,000 daily coronavirus infections since Friday.

The death toll climbed to 12,972 after four more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said. It added 103 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 577,850.

The Philippines, which has a population of about 110 million, has tested over 9 million people so far.

The more infectious variants identified in Britain and South Africa have spread in all cities in Metro Manila, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online media briefing on Monday.

"That is factual," Vergeire said, adding that the variants "are here, and it has contributed to the increase in the number of cases."

She said the health officials are discussing with the World Health Organization (WHO) to determine if there is already community transmission of the variants.

The Philippines has detected 223 cases of B.1.1.7 variants identified in Britain, 152 cases of the B.1.351 variant reported in South Africa, one case of the P.1 variant found in Brazil, and 104 samples with P.3 variant found in the Philippines.

Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said the variants and the people's complacency have contributed to the "rapid rise" of infections in Metro Manila, the epicenter of the outbreak and home to about 13 million people.

Vega hoped that the two-week "heightened" restrictions imposed since Monday in Metro Manila and adjacent four provinces will contain the spread to other areas, adding that the increasing trend in Metro Manila, where 53 percent of the country's total new cases are recorded, is "kind of worrying." (ANI/Xinhua)