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Philippines records 5,389 new COVID-19 cases, 118 more deaths

The Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH), on Tuesday reported 5,389 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 1,327,431.

The death toll climbed to 22,963 after 118 more patients died from the viral disease according to the DOH.

The Philippines, with a population of more than 110 million, had tested more than 13 million people since the outbreak in January 2020.

The decline in the number of new cases in the country had “stalled, and a plateauing trend continues,” Alethea De Guzman of the DOH Epidemiology Bureau told an online briefing.

The number of new cases in Metro Manila and neighboring areas shows a “very slow decline,” said De Guzman.

He further said that the Visayas region in the central Philippines “now has the steepest increase in cases surpassing the number of cases in Metro Manila and adjacent areas.”

She warned that the current downward trend “remains fragile” and trends “can go either way.”

Lockdown restrictions in Metro Manila and neighboring areas will remain until June 30, prohibiting large gatherings and urging people to stay at home.

Since mid-March 2020, the country is under varying lockdown restrictions to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government has gradually eased quarantine restrictions and is ramping up vaccination rollout to help the economy recover from the pandemic.

“The main difference between 2020 quarantine and this year is that we did not shut down 75 per cent of the economy,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said at a forum on Tuesday.

Chua expressed optimism that the country’s economic potential remained as the government re-calibrated its risk management strategy.

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