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Coronavirus cases in the Philippines exceed 410,000

Coronavirus cases in the Philippines exceed 410,000

MANILA, Philippines — Another 1,148 Filipinos were reported to have contracted novel coronavirus by the health department on Tuesday, pushing the national caseload to a grim 410,718. 

Of the total number of cases logged, 28,313 are classified as active, which means they are still undergoing treatment or quarantine. 

Recoveries rose to 374,543 after another 186 recovered patients were recorded by the Department of Health. But the death toll climbed to 7,862 after DOH logged 23 more fatalities. 

The OCTA Research group projected that coronavirus cases in the Philippines could rise to as high as 440,000 by the end of November.

Shelters as possible hotbeds for COVID-19

In October, Advocacy group Agap Banta warned that even though the country has invested significantly in strengthening the preparedness and response capabilities in national, local and community levels, the overlapping of another disaster with the pandemic response and recovery would be “overwhelming.”

A month later, calamities are indeed overlapping as the Philippines grapples with the wreckage caused by three typhoons in as many weeks amid a lingering and deadly pandemic.

The latest of the three typhoons, Ulysses, lashed Luzon last week, dumping heavy rains on Metro Manila and other parts of the island, causing severe flooding which has forced 442,582 individuals — or 111,987 families — to flee their homes, according to the disaster council's latest report. 

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council data last updated on 9 a.m. Tuesday logs a total 283,656 individuals — or 70, 784 families — who are staying in evacuation centers. 

A week after senators warned the national government that evacuation centers could turn into 'superspreaders' of coronavirus amid the recent onslaught of typhoons, Isabela's governor revealed that the province does not have enough funds to test those in shelters for the disease. The province was one of the areas to suffer historic flooding over the weekend. 

Malacañang on Tuesday afternoon promised that some of the evacuees across the country would be tested for coronavirus. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque during a virtual briefing said the government would use antigen tests for screening. 

"I cannot ensure that they will all be given [COVID-19 tests]. But there will be testing at evacuation centers, especially for those with symptoms," Roque said in Filipino. 

Filipinos continue to bear with the aftereffects of these three typhoons amid the further complications posted by the pandemic, the community quarantine for which has been in place for 247 days now.

Across the globe, close to 55 million cases of COVID-19 have been recorded along with a devastating 1.3 million deaths. — Bella Perez-Rubio