Home Editors' Picks Philippines posts 640 new Delta COVID-19 cases

Philippines posts 640 new Delta COVID-19 cases

PEOPLE wear masks inside the Marikina Public Market. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter

PHILIPPINE health authorities on Monday said 640 more people have been infected with the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant, bringing the total to 2,708.

In a statement, the Department of Health (DoH) said 624 patients have recovered, 13 died and three were still battling the virus.

Of the new cases of the virus that was first detected in India, 584 were locals, 52 were returning overseas Filipino workers and four were still being verified, it added.

Of the 584 local cases, 112 had addresses in the National Capital Region, 52 in Cagayan Valley, 49 in Calabarzon and two in the Bangsamoro region.

DoH reported 20,745 coronavirus infections on Monday, bringing the total to more than 2.2 million.

The death toll rose to 35,307 after 163 patients died, while recoveries increased by 22,290 to more than two million, it said in a separate bulletin.

There were 180,293 active cases, 86% of which were mild, 9.4% did not show symptoms, 1.4% were severe, 2.62% were moderate and 0.6% were critical.

DoH said 41 duplicates had been removed from the tally, 30 of which were reclassified as recoveries and one as a death, while 60 recoveries were reclassified as deaths. Five laboratories failed to submit data on Sept. 11.

The agency said 24 more people have been infected with the Alpha coronavirus variant first detected in the United Kingdom, bringing the total to 2,448.

Twenty-eight more Filipinos got infected with the Beta variant from South Africa, bringing the total to 2,725.

DoH also said five more people have been infected with the P.3 variant first detected in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Philippine General Hospital (PGH) spokesman Jonas D. Del Rosario said the country’s main COVID-19 referral hospital was facing a manpower crisis as coronavirus infections in the country continue to increase.

Health workers at the state-run hospital were getting sick, while many of its volunteer doctors have opted not to renew their contracts.

“A lot of patients are coming in, we’re operating at full capacity,” Mr. del Rosario told the ABS-CBN News. “Our manpower is really stretched. We’re 30 patients above our threshold,” he said in Filipino.

He said the PGH was planning to hire private practitioners to augment its team.

Presidential spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. said 77% of intensive care unit beds and 68% of isolation beds in the Philippines had been used as of Sept. 12. More than 70% of ward beds in the country were occupied, he told a televised news briefing.

He said 78% or ICU beds in Metro Manila had been used, while 65% of isolation beds and 72% of ward beds in the region were occupied.

The country is struggling to vaccinate its entire adult population amid a fresh surge in infections triggered by the Delta variant.

As of Sept. 12, 16.8 million people or 21.77% of the country’s adult population had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, Mr. Roque said.

Meanwhile, Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Epimaco V. Densing III said residents affected by localized lockdowns might be given a 12-hour “leeway notice” to prepare. But an area with high COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) infections could be “locked down immediately,” he added.

Mayors could only declare granular lockdowns when these have been recommended by the local health office, he told CNN Philippines.

Meanwhile, Mr. Densing said cash aid would not be given to residents of areas under a granular lockdown. “Unfortunately, we don’t have financial assistance but we have food packs for 14 days,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.

The rules for the pilot testing of localized lockdowns in the capital region were set to be released on Sept. 13.