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Novel coronavirus infections top 500
HEALTH authorities reported 90 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday — a record daily increase — bringing the total to 552.
In an bulletin, the Health department said two more patients aged 71 and 76 had died, raising the total deaths to 35.
Two patients — both females aged 21 and 76 years — have recovered, bringing the total of those who have gotten well to 20, it said.
Worldwide, about 384,000 people have been infected with the novel coronavirus, with more than 16,000 deaths. About 103,000 people have recovered from the virus.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte locked down the entire Luzon island on March 16, suspending schools, work and public transportation to contain the outbreak.
The Health department earlier ruled out mass testing for the coronavirus disease 2019, citing limited resources.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire said other countries had managed to hold coronavirus mass testing because their quarantines were strictly implemented.
The Philippines has taken delivery of 100,000 COVID-19 test kits donated by China.
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 Luzon.
The University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health has developed a detection kit that was still being field-tested.
Ms. Vergeire has also said the government does not recommend rapid testing because it could give false negative results. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas