The Philippines now has highest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia

The Philippines now has highest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia

The Philippines now has the highest number of COVID-19 cases among its Southeast Asian neighbors with 5,223 cases as of Monday.

The country’s health department also announced 291 new cases, 295 recoveries, and 335 deaths.

The number of infections in the Philippines topped Malaysia’s 4,817 cases, Indonesia’s 4,557 cases, Thailand’s 2,579 cases, and Singapore’s 2,532 cases.

Timor-Leste remains the lowest among Southeast Asian neighbors with only 4 recorded cases. A more updated record of cases can be reviewed from John Hopkins University’s global COVID-19 tracker.

The Philippines comes second to Indonesia in terms of the death toll, with Indonesia now counting 373 deceased patients. However, the current statistics still reflect that the Philippines has the highest death-to-recovery ratio among Southeast Asian countries.

The number of cases may continue to rise in the Philippines ahead of the government’s targeted mass testing to begin in the coming days.

Current responses to the pandemic

On April 13, a think-tank from the University of the Philippines (UP) noted that the “shortage of health facilities, health workers, and testing kits” remain challenges in the country’s fight against the pandemic.

“The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines may have been under-reported, especially during the initial period of the outbreak,” the researchers claimed.

On March 15, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he would be putting the Philippines under a nationwide quarantine protocol. As a result, transport networks were shut down and businesses were ordered to temporarily halt operations or arrange for a remote working set-up.

The lockdown was supposed to last for only a month but was extended until the end of April. This extension was the recommendation of the country’s inter-agency committee against COVID-19.

Lockdown reduced number of COVID-19 cases

Researchers from UP noted that the lockdown “may have reduced the number of cases by 83%.”

The researchers have made several forecasts. One scenario forecast that the number of total cases by May 8 could reach as high as 12,200 total infections if the current trend “does not improve even further.”

They added that the lockdown “will need to be extended until the transmission rate of COVID-19 has improved or there is some change in the dynamics of the spread of the disease due to improved quarantine measures.”

Like many other countries, the Philippines has also suffered a huge economic blow because of the pandemic.

As the situation is expected to worsen in the weeks ahead before it gets better, Filipinos turn to the national government and private sector for much-needed aid.

Featured image courtesy of Pexels.

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