PH cases zoom past 47K amid fears virus is mutating

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    AFTER two straight days of over 2,000 cases, the Department of Health (DOH) yesterday reported 1,540 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases amid fears the deadly virus is mutating into something more contagious.

    The latest case bulletin of the DOH showed there were 993 “fresh cases” and 547 “late cases.” In all, the total number of COVID cases in the Philippines has risen to 47,873, with six more patients dying, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,309.

    The DOH also reported that 201 patients had recovered, meaning there are now 12,386 patients who have survived the deadly illness.

    Globally, as of July 6, the World Health Organization said there are 11,327,790 confirmed cases, including 532,340 deaths.

    In a televised press briefing, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they are not ruling out the possibility that COVID-19 is changing into something more contagious.

    “Mutations do occur with COVID-19 virus, and this particular one is now more common in the world and seems to be more infectious,” said Vergeire. “We are continuing to monitor this development and our scientists are sequencing some of our local viruses as we speak.”

    University of the Philippines-National Institute of Health Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Director Dr. Edsel Salvana earlier expressed belief that COVID-19 is mutating into a more infectious type of virus that can spread faster and overwhelm the country’s healthcare system.

    Due to this possibility, the DOH reiterated its call for everyone to adhere to public health standards.

    “Our safety protocols must be strengthened, and that is the strict wearing of masks, physical distancing, and proper hygiene,” said Vergeire.

    The number of policemen infected with COVID-19 has climbed to 905 as of Monday, the PNP public information office reported, with the number of deaths remaining at nine and the number of recoveries standing at 418.

    Last July 5, the PNP said the number of confirmed cases among its men stood at 899 with 409 recoveries and nine deaths.

    The PNP said there were six new cases as of July 6, one of them a civilian employee from the national headquarters, two cops from the National Capital Region Police Office, two from the Central Visayas Police Regional Office, and one from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

    The PNP said there are 684 probable case and 1,238 suspected cases.

    Meanwhile, three city officials of Manila have tested positive for the deadly virus, according to Mayor Isko Moreno. He said the three are now under quarantine and undergoing treatment while contact tracing and targeted testing activities are now being carried out by local health authorities.

    Moreno said he and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan were exposed to the three officials but added he and Lacuna have tested negative.

    As of July 3, the city government has conducted 147,071 rapid testing and 14, 893 swab tests while 1,382 Manilenos infected with the virus have recovered while 147 have succumbed.

    The city government also said there are 2,769 residents confirmed to have the virus after 637 cases were recorded from June 27 to July 3. There are also 564 suspected cases and eight probable cases. – With Raymond Africa and Ashzel Hachero