740 new cases raise PH count to over P23K

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    THE Department of Health yesterday reported 740 new cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), 10 new fatalities, and 159 more patients who have recovered from the disease.

    Yesterday’s figures raised the total number of COVID-19 infections to 23,732 with 1,027 deaths and 4,895 recoveries.

    Of the 740 newly-reported cases, 452 are considered as “fresh cases” or those whose test results came out and were validated by the DOH – Epidemiology Bureau in the past three days while the rest are “late cases” or those whose laboratory results came out four days or more days ago but were just recently validated by the DOH.

    Globally, COVID-19 which emerged in China late last year has spread to more than 200 countries and has infected 7,094,473 million individuals and killed 406,461 persons as of June 10, according to the World Health Organization.

    On Filipinos overseas, the Department of Foreign Affairs reported 29 new cases, two deaths, 51 more recoveries from among Filipinos in 51 countries.

    The two new deaths were reported in the Middle East.

    Overall, the number of recoveries is now at 2,346 and 5,430 for COVID-19 infections. The number of deaths has reached 382.

    Fifty-nine employees of the Department of Justice have tested positive for COVID-19 after undergoing rapid antibody testing.

    Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said 16 employees tested positive yesterday out of the 175 who underwent the rapid testing.

    The DOJ has more than 700 employees in its main office in Manila.

    Earlier, two security guards and a maintenance worker assigned at the DOJ also tested positive for the virus after undergoing rapid tests.

    “I have instructed all those who tested positive to stop reporting for work and undergo swab tests immediately. The rest may work from home,” Guevarra said.

    MISTING

    The DOH renewed its warning against misting or spraying disinfectants as part of decontamination efforts, after a police physician assigned at the Philippine Sports Arena quarantine facility died on May 30 after inhaling disinfectant.

    Two other policemen were exposed to toxic chemicals and sought treatment at the PNP General Hospital.

    The DOH has since been designated as the lead agency in an independent probe of the incident.

    Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, on Tuesday, said the DOH has advised against the use of spraying or misting disinfectants directly on people, and even on surfaces, in accordance with a WHO advisory.

    “We have long reminded everybody that misting and spraying is not recommended for direct spraying to people. It is the reason why we asked that misting tents be stopped,” she said.

    “We now hope that this incident will serve as a lesson and for establishments and facilities to listen to us that these methods are unnecessary,” she added.

    She also said hospitals and medical facilities have a different setting as those being sprayed are wearing complete personal protective equipment (PPE).

    “But for public places, such as malls, spraying people would be very dangerous,” she said.

    In the advisory it issued last April, the DOH said spraying or misting disinfectants have potential health and safety concerns. It said misting may cause any pathogen to be dispersed further from the direct application of a spray, result in skin irritation or inhalation of chemicals and subsequent respiratory side effects, among others. — With Ashzel Hachero