Philippines coronavirus cases rise to 6,459, death toll hits 428

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed 200 new coronavirus cases in the country, raising the total number of cases to 6,459 as of 4 pm on Monday, April 20.

The DOH said 19 more people died, bringing the death toll to 428.

Another 41 patients recovered, pushing the total number of recoveries to 613.

Cases continue to climb as the entire Luzon, including Metro Manila, enters the 6th week of lockdown measures intended to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The lockdown was extended by over two weeks to April 30, after health experts and government officials said there was not enough evidence yet that the virus would no longer spread further.

Health experts earlier estimated that the number of cases in the Philippines may reach anywhere between 26,000 and 75,000.

The government's coronavirus task force has approved guidelines on expanded testing and the use of rapid test kits in conjunction with RT-PCR or rapid reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test kits.

Under the new measures, suspected coronavirus patients and health workers showing mild to severe symptoms, along with exposure to confirmed cases and a history of travel, will be prioritized for testing.

The government earlier said it was aiming to conduct some 20,000 tests daily by April 27.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, spokesperson of the task force, said 52,837 people have been tested as of Sunday, April 19. (READ: Nationalist People's Coalition calls for 'effective, more inclusive' mass testing– Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

image