By Vann Marlo M. Villegas, Reporter
THE Department of Health (DoH) on Monday reported the biggest daily increase of 82 novel coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing the total infections to 462, while the death tally rose by eight to 33.
The agency also said 18 patients have recovered from the virus so far.
DoH on Sunday said confirmed cases could artificially shoot up in the next few days as laboratories expand their capacities and come out with test results faster.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte locked down Luzon on March 16 to contain the COVID-19 virus that has sickened about 342,000 people worldwide, killing almost 15,000, mostly in China.
About 99,000 patients globally have gotten well.
The Health department said eight more patients aged 56 to 89 died, while one more patient — a 56-year-old Filipino male who is also hypertensive — recovered.
Also yesterday, the agency ruled out mass testing for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) because resources are not enough.
“Mass testing is not advisable for us because of our limited resources,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire told DzBB radio in Filipino.
She said other countries had managed to hold coronavirus mass testing because their quarantines were strictly implemented.
The Philippines took delivery of 100,000 COVID-19 test kits from China two days ago.
Ms. Vergeire said the government must strictly enforce the Luzon-wide lockdown ordered by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on March 16.
Mr. Duterte first imposed a community quarantine on Metro Manila, suspending classes and limiting the movement of people to and from the capital and nearby cities.
He later expanded the lockdown to the entire Luzon island, suspending public transportation and work in both the government and private sector to contain the outbreak.
The University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health has developed a detection kit that is still being field-tested.
Ms. Vergeire also said the government does not recommend rapid testing because it could give false negative results.
Also yesterday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said 153 Filipinos overseas had tested positive for the virus. The agency said one had died, 66 were being treated and 86 have recovered.