Philippines logs 7,103 new COVID-19 cases, highest daily rise since outbreak

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Manila [The Philippines], March 19 (ANI/Xinhua): The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported on Friday 7,103 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, the highest daily jump since the disease emerged in the Southeast Asian country in January 2020, raising the total to 648,066.

The death toll climbed to 12,900 after 13 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said. It added that 390 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 561,902. The Philippines, which has a population of about 110 million, has tested over 8.9 million people so far. Metro Manila, home to about 13 million people, is the epicenter of the outbreak in the Philippines.

The Philippines has currently a reproduction rate of around 2, similar to the reproduction rate early on the outbreak. It means that each confirmed COVID-19 patient is infecting two other people.

The government has reinstated restrictions to curb the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised press conference on Friday.

Roque said the inter-agency coronavirus task force ordered some businesses such as driving schools, cinemas, and gaming arcades in Metro Manila and areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) to stop operating until April 4. Metro Manila and nine other areas are under GCQ this month.

The government also ordered the closure of cultural centers and banned social events in establishments accredited by the Department of Tourism.

The government also re-imposed reduced capacity in dine-in restaurants, cafes, personal care services, and worship houses. The government allowed these businesses to operate last month to rev up the pandemic-hit economy.

The DOH blamed the surge-on people's failure to comply with minimum health standards such as wearing masks and face shields properly and keeping a distance when outside their homes.

The emergence of the more transmissible variants also "aggravated" the spread of infections, the DOH added. (ANI/Xinhua)