5,404 new cases, highest since August last year

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    THE Department of Health reported 5,404 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases yesterday, the highest daily tally since August last year, and the second time in three days that the number of infections breached the 5,000 mark.

    Last Saturday, the DOH reported 5,000 new cases and 4,899 last Sunday. On August 14 last year, 6,216 new cases were recorded.

    Overall, the number of cases climbed to 626,893 with eight more deaths reported that raised the number of fatalities to 12,837, a case fatality rate of 2.05 percent.

    There were 71 new recoveries, raising the number of survivors to 560,577 but active cases rose to 53,479 from 48,157 last Sunday.

    The active cases, which account for 8.5 percent of cases in the country, include 92.4 percent mild cases, 4 percent asymptomatic cases, 1.4 percent severe cases, 1.4 percent critical cases, and 0.73 percent moderate cases.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs said there were five new cases and two new deaths among overseas Filipinos, raising the number of infections to 15,881 and the death toll to 1,043.

    There were nine new recoveries, bringing the total number of survivors to 9,563.

    The Middle East and African regions remained the most deadly place for overseas Filipinos who contracted the deadly virus with 672 deaths out of 8,881 cases.

    America came in behind with 223 deaths although it has the lowest number of cases among members of the Filipino community with 890.

    Europe has 3,144 cases and 128 deaths while the Asia Pacific region reported 2,966 cases and 21 deaths.

    Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said he will go on isolation, in a government facility if needed, after he tested positive for COVID-19.

    He said he learned of the results of his tests yesterday. He was tested on Sunday in preparation for the IATF meeting with President Duterte on Monday night and was at his office at the New Executive Building in Malacañang when he received the grim new.

    He said he was shocked and surprised, especially because he has tested negative in previous tests.

    Roque assured the public that despite attending two events in Dumaguete where he was either seated or stood behind President Duterte, the President was not exposed to the deadly virus.

    He is the fifth Cabinet member to be infected with COVID-19.

    The others were Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año who contracted the COVID-19 twice. All have recovered but Año has gone on leave to take further rest.

    Roque said he intends to continue to discharge his functions and hold briefings in isolation.

    He conducted his online briefing from his office room yesterday, where he said he was alone, and is set to hold another online briefing today via Zoom.

    He said he is also attending the IATF meeting via online.

    Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto said he has tested negative for the deadly virus after his trusted driver tested positive and died of COVID-19 last March 13.

    Although he tested negative, Sotto said he will undergo self-quarantine until March 24.

    “I won’t be attending work during the quarantine period, at least not in person as will continue to do my job via Zoom, Viber, text or phone calls. I also have cancelled my appointments during my quarantine period,” Sotto said.

    Sotto express sadness over the loss of his driver, Kuya Vener, who has been with him since his days as a councilor in the city.

    “Kuya Vener is very kind and reliable. A smile always on his face even (after) being reprimanded for a few mistakes,” Sotto said. “A kind husband, father and friend. We love you and will miss you dearly Kuya.” – With Jocelyn Montemayor Ashzel Hachero, and Christian Oineza