New COVID cases: Record 6,958

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    Hands-on training. Applicants for the job of contact tracer undergo a seminar held by the Quezon City government at the Quezon City Memorial Circle. If they make the grade, they will be tapped to join the city’s fight against the spread of the coronavirus disease. PHOTO BY ROLLY SALVADOR

    CLOSE to 7,000 new coronavirus cases (COVID-19) were reported by the Department of Health yesterday, a new record high in the country, surpassing the previous record of 6,352 reported last August 4.

    Of the 6,958 new cases, majority came from the National Capital Region with 4,163, while Laguna had 400, Rizal (363), Cavite (312), and Bulacan (178).

    Overall, the total number of COVID cases in the country rose to 136,638, with 24 more deaths reported. The total number of fatalities rose to 2,293.

    On the positive side, the DOH said there were 633 new recoveries, raising the total number of survivors to 68,159.

    Yesterday’s case bulletin was released four hours later than the usual time of 4 p.m. due to an error in the DOH database.

    “This is due to an unexpected system error that caused the non-inclusion of new cases in the COVIDKAYA-extracted database,” the DOH said in a statement.

    Meanwhile, only three overseas Filipinos were added yesterday to the list of those infected with COVID-19, the Department of Foreign Affairs said, bringing the total since the outbreak of the virus to 9,757 in 72 countries.

    For the second day in a row, no new fatality due to the virus was reported. As of Saturday, the number of overseas Filipino who had succumbed to the virus stood at 708.

    The DFA also reported seven new recoveries, bringing the total recoveries so far to 5, 790 with 3,259 still undergoing treatment.

    The Middle East and Africa topped the regions with the highest number of cases and fatalities among overseas Filipinos with 6,849 and 430, respectively. Europe followed with 1, 143 cases, Asia and the Pacific regions with 981 cases and 784 in the Americas.

    A lawmaker who has tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) urged the House leadership to temporarily suspend sessions to stop the continuing spread of the deadly virus at the House of Representatives.

    Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel sounded the alarm after the House recorded a total of cases 39 COVID cases as of yesterday.

    “I fully support the idea to suspend the sessions once all COVID-19 mitigation measures have been passed,” he said. “Every week, the cases of COVID are rising in Congress.”

    Pimentel is an ally of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, who expects to take takeover the speaker’s post in October based on his term-sharing agreement with Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

    Pimentel, who remains asymptomatic and is in self-isolation, tested positive for the virus last July 27 when attendees for President Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address were required to undergo swab and rapid tests.

    “I’m doing fine, (Monday) is my 14th day (of quarantine). Okay na ako (I’m okay now),” said Pimentel, who is set to take a swab test today, Tuesday.

    The House leadership has already recorded 17 positive cases since the SONA, bringing the total number of cases to 39.

    Secretary General Joel Montales announced yesterday that the latest case is an employee of the Office of the Speaker who last went to work last March.

    “He got tested after experiencing fever, body malaise, and decreased sense of smell. He is in stable condition,” Montales said.

    The House holds “hybrid” plenary sessions and committee hearings physically attended by a few lawmakers while the rest participate through online apps like Zoom.

    While only a few congressmen are physically present and observe social distancing, their staff still report to the office daily, especially those working for House leaders.

    Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said the Justice Jose Abad Santos General Hospital in Binondo, Manila has temporarily closed its facilities for delivery as its occupancy rate has already reached its capacity.

    Moreno said the temporary move, while indefinite, will allow the hospital to decongest and to maintain physical distancing of patients, thereby avoiding potential complications and to protect its staff.

    “We closed our acceptance, especially for those who are pregnant and about to give birth, because we have already breached our load capacity. We have expecting mothers for operation, for cesareans,” Moreno said, adding patients will be diverted to adjacent hospitals such as the Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center. – With Wendell Vigilia and Ashzel Hachero