The number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines breached the 20,000 mark on Thursday, June 4.
The Department of Health (DOH) reported 20,382 total number of cases due to the addition of 634 cases recorded for the day.
Of the new reported cases, 313 are "fresh" cases while 321 are "late" cases.
Fresh cases are patients who got their validated positive results within the last 3 days. Late cases refer to patients who got their positive results 4 days or more ago but were validated only recently.
The DOH said that it would continue to classify cases as "fresh" and "late" until laboratories have cleared their validation backlogs.
The number of coronavirus deaths grew to 984 on Thursday, following 10 newly-reported deaths.
Meanwhile, a total of 4,248 have recovered from the disease, following the addition of 95 new recoveries.
A quarter (158) of the new cases are from Metro Manila. A little less, 22%, were cases from Central Visayas. Both areas are under general community quarantine until June 15.
The rising numbers come as the country eases quarantine measures. Metro Manila, the region most hard-hit by COVID-19 resumed public transportation on June 1.
The government has told the public that the recent high numbers of new cases reported daily are largely due to more old coronavirus test results being validated day by day.
The jump in new cases reported in a day was first seen last Thursday, May 28, when 539 additional cases were reported by DOH. Before this day, new cases reported daily numbered a few hundred or even less.
But the DOH said the big numbers were due to the hiring of more encoders, which has sped up the validation of cases that are days or even weeks old.
The numbers will likely continue to increase, partly due to the government's new goal of testing more asymptomatic individuals and frontliners.
Asymptomatic individuals refer to persons who don't manifest any symptoms of COVID-19 but may be positive and could infect others.
Asymptomatics complicate the pandemic since such individuals, if not tested, might leave their homes thinking they don't have the disease and unwittingly spread it.
Testing czar Vince Dizon has said the country's daily testing capacity is now at 41,990 but lack of test kits and other supplies has led actual testing per day to number only around 10,000.
But bulk orders of testing supplies on the week of June 8 are expected to further increase the number of tests done. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.