8,773 new cases, 56 more deaths

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    THE Department of Health reported 8,773 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases yesterday, the highest single-day increase, along with 56 more deaths, as the country continued to reel from the frightening surge of the deadly virus.

    In its latest bulletin, the DOH said the total number of infections rose to 693,048 while the death toll climbed to 13,095 for a case fatality rate of 1.89 percent.

    The new cases surpassed the previous high of 8,019 set just last Monday.

    There were 574 new recoveries as the number of survivors increased to 580,062. The DOH said this means that 83.7 percent of COVID patients had recovered.

    The number of active cases soared to 99,89 from 91,754 last Wednesday, with 95 percent of them mild cases, 3 percent asymptomatic cases, 0.8 percent severe cases, 0.8 percent critical cases, and 0.44 percent moderate cases.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs said 31 more overseas Filipinos have tested positive, bringing the total to 16,040 since last year, with 8,884 of them in the Middle East and African regions, 3,247 in Europe, 3,008 in the Asia Pacific and 901 in the Americas.

    The DFA said there were 20 new recoveries, bringing the number of survivors to 9,722. No new deaths were reported.

    Since last year, 1,047 overseas Filipinos have succumbed to the virus.

    Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said an employee of the DOJ-administered Witness Protection Program succumbed to the deadly virus on Wednesday.

    He said the 54-year-old victim was the second DOJ employee to die from the virus, after a female employee died in February.

    Guevarra said the latest victim was among 17 WPP employees who tested positive for the deadly virus last Friday.

    He assured the public that all witnesses in various cases under the care of the WPP are safe and nobody among them has contracted the virus.

    Data provided by the DOJ showed that a total of 50 of its employees have contracted the virus this year, with 47 considered active cases. Two have died, including the recent fatality, while one had recovered.

    Supreme Court spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka said 61 court employees have also tested positive for the virus.

    Outgoing Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta ordered the “physical closure” of all courts in the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal and Cavite from 2 p.m. of March 25 to 2 pm today, March 26.

    The SC, Court of Appeals, Court of Tax Appeals and the Sandiganbayan are covered by the order.

    “All hearings in the NCR Judicial Region courts and nearby provinces are suspended during this period, except on urgent matters, such as but not limited to petitions, motions and pleadings in relation to bail and habeas corpus, promulgation of judgments of acquittals, reliefs for those who may be arrested and detained during this period, and other related actions that may be filed in relations to measures imposed at the local or national levels to address the declared health emergency,” the SC advisory said. – With Ashzel Hachero