Philippine daily COVID-19 cases surpass 10,000 for 1st time

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MANILA, March 29 (Xinhua) — The Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) reported on Monday 10,016 new COVID-19 infections, the highest ever daily tally since the outbreak began in January last year, raising the nationwide count in the Southeast Asian country to 731,894.

The death toll climbed to 13,186 after 16 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said.

“Our data shows continuing and swift rise of cases (in Metro Manila and four adjacent provinces),” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online briefing, stressing the need to reimpose “harder lockdowns or measures” to curb the infections.

Otherwise, she warned the country’s active cases could balloon to 430,000 by the end of April and 350,000 cases in Metro Manila alone.

Vergeire said Metro Manila and the outlying areas are already at “critical risk” or “high risk” based on the two-week growth rate and the average daily attack rate.

The government reverted to the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to address people’s non-compliance to the health protocols and ramp up detection, contact tracing, and isolation of COVID-19 patients, she said.

The DOH attributed the new wave of infections to “low masking compliance, more infectious variants, breached surveillance contact tracing, and delayed testing.”

Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, Department of Interior and Local Government spokesperson, said over 9,000 police officers are now deployed at the start of this week in Metro Manila and the four areas to implement the strict lockdown measures.

The government imposed a curfew effective from 6:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. local time to limit people’s mobility. Only authorized persons outside of the residence, cargo vehicles, and public transport will be allowed.

Malaya said there are now 1,106 police checkpoints around the lockdown areas. In Metro Manila alone, 7,876 police officers are operating 929 checkpoints, he added.

The strict lockdown measures, which the government reimposed on Monday, will end on April 4. The government will decide whether to extend or lift the lockdown restrictions on Sunday. Enditem

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