COVID-19 cases in the Philippines breach 367,000

Bella Perez-Rubio ( – October 24, 2020 – 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — After recording another 2,057 infections on Saturday, the health department said the national coronavirus caseload has topped 367,000. 

Of the total 367,819 infections recorded, 47,773 are classified by the Department of Health as active. The Philippines has also posted 313,112 recoveries, 442 of which were recorded on Saturday. 

Meanwhile, the coronavirus death toll in the country rose to 6,934, after another 19 fatalities were logged by the DOH. 

This week, the daily recorded cases managed to stay below the 2,000 mark for four days straight — a streak which broke today — but it is unclear if this is a sign of progress or a result of the country’s bogged down testing capacity. 

While the government has long touted the country’s supposedly robust testing capacity, data paints a different picture. 

According to Statista, a business data platform, among the 31 countries most impacted by coronavirus, the Philippines is 27th in the rate of tests conducted — having screened only 40,447 tests per million of its population.

In addition to this, the Philippine Red Cross recently halted coronavirus testing due to the state-run insurer’s failure to make payments — causing testing numbers to slump to the lowest level in three months. 

Data from the health department showed that the total samples tested from Sunday to Wednesday dipped below the 30,000-mark which is the government’s daily target. As a consequence, fewer people were likewise tested.

In October 18 alone, four days since the Red Cross stopped testing, samples processed dropped to just 18,810, the lowest since July 12. By number of people, 17,177 individuals were tested that day, also the lowest since July 12.

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. on Friday night said it would pay its debt to the PRC on Monday. The agency failed to disclose how much of the more than P930 million balance it would settle, but said in a statement that its payment “should enable the PRC to immediately resume its testing of swab specimen of concerned sectors which PhilHealth pays for.”

— with reports from Xave Gregorio

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