Coronavirus infections nearing 343,000 as deaths rise to 6,332

RESIDENTS of Barangay Bahay Toro in Quezon City undergo rapid testing as 34 barangays were placed under extreme enhanced community quarantine. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

THE DEPARTMENT of Health (DoH) reported 3,564 coronavirus infections on Monday, bringing the total to 342,816.

The death toll rose by 11 to 6,332, while recoveries increased by 150 to 293,152, it said in a bulletin.

There were 43,332 active cases, 83.9% of which were mild, 10.8% did not show symptoms, 1.7% were severe and 3.6% were critical.

Metro Manila reported the highest number of new cases with 1,344, followed by Cavite with 215, Laguna with 212, Rizal with 211 and Iloilo with 164, the agency said.

Of the new deaths, four came from the Davao region, three from the Calabarzon region, two from Ilocos and one each from Northern Mindanao and Caraga.

The country’s coronavirus death rate was at 1.85%, lower than 2.86% globally, while the infection rate was at 10.03%, higher than the World Health Organization’s (WHO) benchmark of less than 5%.

The virus reproduction number as of Sept. 27 was at 0.923. It takes 12 days for cases to double and 17 days for deaths to double, DoH said. More than 3.9 million individuals have been tested for the virus, it added.

Meanwhile, the WHO said governments could avoid large-scale lockdowns if health protocols are strictly enforced.

“We don’t view large lockdowns as the primary response,” WHO Country Representative Rabrindra Abeyasinghe told an online news briefing.

“The primary response should be a public health response and when this fails, when the health systems are being overwhelmed, it is necessary to use lockdowns as a last resort,” he said. “That is what we have been advocating right from the beginning.”

Mr. Abeyasinghe said early lockdowns had helped countries better prepare measures against the pandemic.

But countries should enforce safety standards such as social distancing and better hygiene, otherwise there could be a fresh surge in infections, he said.

Meanwhile, he said he hoped participants in the WHO’s solidarity vaccine trials set later this month could be increased to 4,000 from as few as 2,000.

“The larger the number of people being trialed, the sooner we could get evidence of its efficacy, safety, etc.,” Mr. Abeyasinghe said.

Also on Monday, DoH issued a memo on ventilation to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. People should conduct activities in open air as much as possible, it said.

The guidelines were created to lessen the transmission of the virus, which people could get from droplets and through direct contact.

“While evidence regarding airborne transmission of COVID-19 requires further study, ensuring adequate ventilation is a recommended precaution in enclosed spaces,” according to a copy of the memo. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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