THE Department of Health yesterday reported 2,498 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country, the second highest tally since March, and 29 more deaths, highlighting the fact that the COVID curve has not been flattened or bent.
In all, the Philippines has 38,183 active cases, vaulting past Indonesia for the dubious record of being No. 1 with active cases in Southeast Asia, and 61,266 in total cases, second to Indonesia which has 81,668 cases.
The highest tally reported by the DOH stood at 2,539 last July 8.
The number of fatalities rose to 1,643 while 467 new recoveries were recorded, meaning the number of patients who have survived the deadly virus now stands at 21,440.
Globally, as of July 16, there were 13,285,640 confirmed cases, including 578,110 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
A day after reporting no new COVID deaths among overseas Filipinos, the Department of Foreign Affairs reported that 15 more had succumbed to the virus while 59 more were infected.
This brings to 633 the number of fatalities among overseas Filipinos with 8,974 infected in 65 countries. The DFA said there were 10 new recoveries, bringing the number to 5,321.
The Middle East and Africa recorded a total of 6,483 cases and 363 deaths, majority of them in the Middle East where more than two million Filipinos are living and working.
Europe registered 1,063 cases and 95 deaths while the Americas reported 699 cases and 169 deaths. The Asia-Pacific region reported 729 cases and six deaths.
The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait said 31 OFWs have died from COVID-19 out of 300 who were infected. Chargé d’ affaires Charleson Hermosura, during the Laging Handa briefing, said four of those who died were Filipino health care workers serving in the frontlines of the emirate’s fight to contain the pandemic.
The embassy said Kuwait has over 56,000 COVID-19 cases with more than 46,000 recoveries and 399 deaths. Hermosura said based on Kuwaiti laws, all COVID-19 fatalities are immediately buried.
A third employee of the Sandiganbayan has tested positive for COVID-19 just three days after Presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang ordered the courthouse closed for two days for disinfection.
Sources said the latest COVID-19 patient reports to the same office as Patient No. 2, a legal officer of one of the senior justices of the anti-graft court. Patient No. 1 is a court stenographer who is now undergoing treatment at a hospital in Quezon City.
Contact tracing earlier ordered by Tang resulted in the discovery of the third infected employee.
However, the court has not suspended operations as a skeleton staffing has been put in place in the seven divisions and support offices while the rest of the court’s personnel are on “alternative work arrangements.”
Armed Forces chief Felimon Santos Jr. and other military officials who have been exposed to others infected with COVID-19 have tested negative.
“Yes. Negative din ako (I am also negative),” Santos said yesterday as he announced the result of his PCR or swab test on Tuesday night. Santos jokingly added that he is a COVID-19 “veteran.”
Last Wednesday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced he tested negative after being exposed to the same COVID-19 positive officials, Col. Rolly Nerona and an unnamed Navy junior officer.
Santos tested positive last March but made a successful recovery. He said then that he believed Carrimycin, a medicine not approved by the Food and Drug Authority, given by a Chinese friend helped in his recovery.
After his recovery, he wrote Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian to request five boxes of Carrimycin that he said he will give to his close friends who were also infected. He later withdrew the letter after learning the medicine had not been approved by the FDA.
Nerona learned that he tested positive last Monday shortly after the military plane that took him, Lorenzana, Santos and other military and defense officials landed in Jolo, Sulu.
They flew to Sulu to attend President Duterte’s meeting with soldiers in Jolo that afternoon.
After learning the result of his test, Nerona did not attend the event and left on a different plane.
Santos said he will continue to go on home quarantine “for the safety of others.” He said Lorenzana will also continue to be on home quarantine.
AFP spokesman Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the military has noted an increased in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Armed Forces.
“To date, 221 are active cases, 22 have recovered, and 126 were cleared and allowed to return their homes and report to work. A civilian human resource (employee) of the AFP succumbed to the dreaded virus,” said Arevalo.
The Philippine Coast Guard said 31 of its frontline personnel recently tested positive, bringing to 313 the number of infected PCG men, with no deaths. Of the 313, 83 have recovered. It said the 31 new cases brought to 230 the number of active COVID-19 cases in the PCG.
Taguig City has recorded 35 new COVID cases, bringing the total 1,663, according to Mayor Lino Cayetano. – With Ashzel Hachero, Peter Tabingo, victor reyes and noel Noel Talacay