1,678 new cases; 4 deaths

    The Presidential Communications Operations Office, headed by Sec. Martin Andanar reported that 32 of its personnel had been infected--29 active cases and 3 deaths.

    FOR the second straight day, the Department of Health reported less than 2,000 new coronavirus disease cases and just four deaths but there were no signs the deadly virus is slowing down.

    In its latest bulletin, the DOH reported 1,678 new cases, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 83,673. Of the new cases reported, majority came from the National Capital Region with 698, followed by Laguna (218), Cebu (100), Cavite (87), and Davao del Sur (33).

    The four new deaths came from NCR (2) and Central Visayas (2). Two of the deaths happened this July and two happened last June. Overall, the total number of fatalities due to COVID-19 now stands at 1,947.

    The DOH said there were 173 new recoveries, raising the number of survivors to 26,617.

    Globally, as of July 27, there were 16,114,449 confirmed COVID cases, including 646,641 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs reported only one new COVID-19 case among overseas Filipinos while two more succumbed to the virus.

    The total confirmed COVID cases of overseas Filipinos now stands at 9,305 in 70 countries with 655 fatalities, 5, 426 have recovered while 3,224 are still undergoing treatment.

    The Presidential Communications Operations Office reported that 32 of its personnel had been infected with the deadly virus, 29 of them active cases and three deaths.

    The PCOO main office at the New Executive Building at the Malacanang complex had been in an indefinite lockdown since last week after some of its employees tested positive. A total of 22 active cases and one death had been reported in the PCOO since then.

    The Philippine Information Agency, which had two active cases, shut down its central office until August 15 to undergo disinfection while the Radio Television Malacanang main office within the Malacanan complex also closed down its office until August 11 to undergo disinfection after two of its personnel tested positive. Skeletal teams continue to operate while others are working from home.

    Meanwhile, Senate majority leader Juan Miguel Zubiri has tested negative for COVID-19 in the confirmatory test done by the Philippine Red Cross.

    Zubiri on Monday announced that he tested positive for the virus anew after undergoing three rapid tests and a swab test at a Department of Health accredited hospital as part of the requirement to be able to be physically present during President Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address.

    Zubiri is one of three senators who were earlier found infected with the virus, the others being Senators Juan Edgardo Angara and Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.

    “My confirmatory test with the Philippine Red Cross has come out and shows that I no longer have live RNA cells of COVID-19. What the infectious disease experts have told us is that the DOH result yesterday (Monday) possibly detected remnants of dead virus cells which is a common occurrence with recovered patients,” Zubiri told reporters in a Viber message.

    “This means that this is no longer infectious and recovered patients are safe as long as they still have the antibodies,” he added.

    The Korean Embassy in Taguig City has extended its temporary closure by five days from July 27 after another security guard tested positive for COVID-19.

    In an advisory, the embassy said the temporary closure “will be extended until July 31.”

    The embassy was previously closed from July 20 to July 22 after a security guard tested positive for the virus.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs said its main building on Roxas Blvd. was temporarily closed beginning Tuesday, July 28, as part of its assessment of public health and safety measures currently in place. It said the DFA-Consular Office on ASEANA and other consular offices will remain open. – With Jocelyn Montemayor, Raymond Africa and Ashzel Hachero