Rizal dislodges Metro Manila as area with most COVID-19 cases
By Jovic Yee
Philippine Daily Inquirer
2020-10-18 05:12:04

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila was replaced by Rizal province as the area with the most number of COVID-19 cases after the Department of Health (DOH) revised its reporting on Saturday, breaking down areas that recorded new infections by province or city.

Rizal accounted for 185 of the 2,673 new cases, followed by the provinces of Cavite with 175 and Batangas with 159.

Quezon City was the lone Metro Manila city listed in the top five with 143 cases, followed by Bulacan with 88. The national caseload now stands at 354,338.

The DOH did not immediately explain why they again revised the reporting system, but it came as the government started to ease quarantine restrictions, ahead of the Christmas rush that is expected to shore up the economy which plunged into recession because of the pandemic.

The new data brought the tally of active cases to 52,423, of which 84.7 percent are mild, 11 percent asymptomatic, 1.5 percent severe and 2.9 percent critical.

There are now a total of 295,312 COVID-19 survivors with the recovery of 539 more patients. The death toll, however, rose to 6,603 as 73 patients succumbed to the severe respiratory disease.

Of the newly reported deaths, 49 died this month, three in September, 18 in August, two in July and one in May.

Thirty-two of the fatalities were from Metro Manila, 10 from Calabarzon, nine from Central Luzon, five from Zamboanga, five from Caraga, four from Davao, three from Western Visayas, two from Soccsksargen, and one each from Ilocos, Bicol and Central Visayas.

But while the country showed signs of a slowdown, cases in the United States continued to surge while most of Europe has resumed strict quarantine measures.

This led the World Health Organization (WHO) to appeal to an already anxious public to “hold on a bit longer” and continue observing the preventive health measures.

Epidemiologist Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said the WHO understands the “high sense of anxiety” and frustration across the world given that the outbreak has been raging for 10 months.

But the public, she said, must remember “there are things they need to do to continue to be able to protect themselves” and their communities at this point of the pandemic.

“The decisions that all of us make, those little decisions that we make, are having an impact. If we can hold on a bit longer, we will get through this,” said Kerkhove, technical lead of the WHO’s health emergencies program.

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