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Philippines reports 8 more COVID-19 deaths; cases climb to 3,246

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The Philippines’ death toll from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) climbed to 152 on Sunday after the Department of Health (DOH) reported eight more fatalities as the government contemplated extending the Luzon-wide quarantine to curb the spread of the illness.

The department also confirmed 152 more COVID-19 cases, bringing the national total to 3,246.

Meanwhile, the number of people who have recovered from the respiratory disease also rose to 64 after seven more people were discharged from hospitals.

Meanwhile, 5,974 people had been tested for COVID-19, while 1,441 were classified as persons under investigation for possible infection.

The DOH’s online COVID-19 tracker also showed that 1,560 people had tested negative for the disease while 1,166 others were still awaiting the results of their test.

However, Health Undersecretary Rosette Vergeire announced at a virtual press briefing that over 19,000 individuals had been tested as of Sunday.

“Tayo po ay nakapag-test na ng 19,585 individuals. Kasama po sa bilang na ito ang mga test na ginagawa sa ating mga pasyenteng COVID-19-positive. Sila po ay paulit-ulit na tine-test upang ma-monitor po ang progreso ng kanilang kalusugan,” she explained.

Vergeire added that 83 percent of COVID-19 tests conducted so far have come out negative.

Earlier on Sunday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III maintained that measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 must not be relaxed, citing the 55-day lockdown in Wuhan, China that drove down the number of infections in the outbreak’s epicenter.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the chief of the government’s COVID-19 response, likewise said the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, initially scheduled to be lifted on April 13, may be extended by 15 days.

Galvez also assured the public that the DOH had begun mass testing with suspected COVID-19 cases.

The eight laboratories nationwide that had received certification to conduct independent COVID-19 testing processed a total of 1,200 people each day, according to Vergeire.

“Mayron po tayong 78 laboratoryo na nasa pipeline at ina-assess na po natin ngayon kung ito ay maaaring gawing COVID testing centers din,” she added.

The DOH seeks to ramp up the country’s testing capacity to 8,000 to 10,000 specimens per day by April 14. — DVM, GMA News

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