MANILA, Philippines — (Updated 4:33 p.m.) The Philippines on Saturday recorded 5,000 additional COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections to 616,611.
- Active cases: 55,679 or 9.2% of the total
- Recoveries: 281, pushing the total to 547,166
- Deaths: 72, bringing the total to 12,776
What's new today?
- The additional coroanvirus infections recorded Saturday mark the highest daily rise since Aug. 26, 2020, when the Philippines recorded 5,277 cases.
- This is the seventh time in less than two weeks that cases breached the 3,000-mark and the second day in a row that they surpassed 4,000.
- Active cases are also the highest reported since Oct. 3, 2020, when there were 58, 606 cases.
- Dr. Tony Leachon, public health expert and former adviser to the coronavirus task force, called out the health department for blaming the increase in cases on "social mobility and behavior" instead of focusing "on the impact of variants to COVID transmission." He added that this attitude from the DOH "creates problems in diagnosis and management."
DOH has not really focused on the impact of variants to COVID transmission and blames social mobility and behavior as the main cause – this creates problems in diagnosis and management ! https://t.co/Tabr1LKim5Related Stories
— Tony Leachon MD (@DrTonyLeachon) March 13, 2021
- Leachon has long called the dramatic and repeated increase in cases this month a second surge but health authorities have refused to do so.
- Health authorities said they detected the first case of the coronavirus variant first seen in Brazil called P.1 from a Filipino who came from the South American country and lives in Western Visayas. They added that P.1 is considered a variant of concern, indicating an increased risk to human health.
- Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases the night before said a traveler from the Philippines who arrived in the country last February 25 was found to be carrying a new coronavirus variant. The institute said the variant carries the mutations which may help the virus dodge antibodies increase its transmissibility.
- The Department of Health reported that they detected 98 cases of a new coronavirus variant first seen in the country. The variant, now called P.3, also carries mutations that could help the virus dodge antibodies increase its transmissibility but health authorities did not confirm if it is the same one that was detected in Japan.
- The World Health Organization on Friday said there is no reason to stop using AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine after several countries suspended the rollout over blood clot fears.
- The provincial government of Oriental Mindoro said PGen. Debold Sinas, national police chief, skipped health screening when he arrived at the province last Thursday, hours before it was announced that he contracted COVID-19.
- This is not the first time Sinas was seen flouting the very health protocols enforced by the police, gaining national notoriety last year for his birthday party which was held amid a stringent lockdown.
— with reports from Xave Gregorio
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