Coronavirus cases near 31,000; death toll reaches 1,177

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THE Department of Health reported 630 new coronavirus infections on Monday, bringing the total to 30,682.

The death toll rose to 1,177 after eight more patients died, while recoveries rose by 250 to 8,143, it said in a bulletin.

Of the new cases, 467 were reported in the past three days, while 163 were reported late, the agency said. There were now 63 laboratories licensed to test COVID-19 samples.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire said laboratories were regularly reporting their inventory of supplies so they can prepare better.

Zoning has also allowed laboratories to help each other when the capacity of one of them decreases because of operational issues, she said.


Also yesterday, the presidential palace said there was no decision yet whether to relax the lockdown in Manila and nearby cities, where infections were mostly concentrated, by July.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte locked down the entire Luzon island in mid-March, suspending work, classes and public transportation to contain the pandemic. People should stay home except to buy food and other basic goods, he said.

It’s too early to tell whether Metro Manila’s lockdown should be relaxed further into a modified general community quarantine, Presidential Spokesman Harry L. Roque said at a news briefing.

He said science would dictate the decision on the capital region’s lockdown.

The lockdown in most parts of the country has lasted 100 days, longer than any country and leading to criticisms that it had been ineffective in slowing infections.

“The government has developed a ‘framework’ to balance people’s health and the economy,” Mr. Roque said.

He said the rise in cases and the slowing death rate were not unusual. The world is experiencing a “new and dangerous phase” of rising global infections, Mr. Roque said, citing the World Health Organization.

On June 18, 180,000 cases were reported globally, the highest daily tally. — Gillian M. Cortez