MANILA, Philippines – Confirmed coronavirus cases in the Philippines have exceeded 6,000 as the Department of Health (DOH) announced 209 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, April 18.
The total number of coronavirus cases in the country climbed to 6,087 as of 4 pm on Saturday, the DOH said in its daily bulletin.
The DOH recorded 10 new deaths, bringing total fatalities to 397.
Meanwhile, 29 more patients have recovered from the disease, raising the total recoveries to 516.
The capital region Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon island concluded its 5th week on lockdown or “enhanced community quarantine,” the government’s tack in quelling the pandemic. Luzon is home to roughly half the national population.
Many other parts of the Philippines are also on lockdown in an effort slow down the spread of the virus.
Earlier on Saturday, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) said local government units have been tasked to take the lead in fighting the pandemic.
The IATF directed all government agencies “to recommend sector-specific plans, strategies, and targets,” and ordered the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 to “develop new operational plans.”
Among the salient changes would be the Department of the Interior and Local Government – in coordination with local governments – taking charge of contact-tracing of possible coronavirus cases, a task formerly assigned to the Office of Civil Defense.
Contact-tracing is a key aspect of efforts to arrest the pandemic, as the government intends to isolate suspect, probable, and confirmed coronavirus patients in quarantine facilities to protect their communities from the virus.
The IATF is set to further discuss plans on the localized approach to fighting the pandemic on Monday, April 20, when it tackles post-lockdown scenarios as well as new guidelines. – Rappler.com
JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.