A tarpaulin honoring frontline health workers is placed at the entrance of the Sta. Ana Hospital in Manila on Tuesday midnight as a form of gratitude to the wholehearted service these modern day heroes provide in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman
Philippines’ COVID-19 infections reach 3,764 as gov’t extends Luzon lockdown
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - April 7, 2020 - 4:52pm

MANILA, Philippines (Update 6:04 p.m.) — The Philippines recorded another large increase in the number of coronavirus cases Tuesday as the country extended the sweeping lockdown of its main island of Luzon.

The new coronavirus has so far infected 3,764 in the Philippines after the Department of Health reported 104 new infections. The latest figure is lower than the 414 cases registered on Monday. 

Health chief Francisco Duque III said most of the country’s confirmed cases are in Luzon.

“More than half or more or less 80% [of the cases] were recorded in Metro Manila,” Duque said in a press briefing Tuesday. 

Outside Luzon, the Davao region registered the highest number of COVID-19 cases at 79, followed by Central Visayas—where Cebu is located—with 39 infections. 

The DOH also reported 14 additional fatalities, raising the national death toll to 177. 

Meanwhile, 11 more COVID-19 patients recovered. The number of recoveries in the country now sits at 84.

Just a little over 20,092 individuals have been tested as of Monday, the National Task Force against COVID-19 said.

Prolonged lockdown

The national government extended the enhanced community quarantine of Luzon to further stem the spread of the new coronavirus until April 30. The lockdown was initially intended to expire on April 12.

“Such extension of the ECQ shall be without prejudice to the discretion of the president to relax that implementation of the ECQ in some local jurisdictions or the granting of exemptions in favor of certain sectors such as public health considerations and food security may warrant,” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a press briefing Tuesday.

Under the lockdown, millions in Luzon were ordered to stay home, while businesses and schools were shuttered and mass transportations systems were suspended.

Other areas outside of Luzon also implemented their own lockdown policies.

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed nearly 70,000 people across the globe, while more than 1.3 million people have tested positive. Over 285,000, meanwhile, have recovered.

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LATEST UPDATE: April 29, 2020 - 7:51pm

Photo shows members of the Philippine National Police deployed in Manila amid COVID-19 threat. The STAR/Edd Gumban

President Rodrigo Duterte on March 16, 2020 declares an enhanced community quarantine over all of mainland Luzon, an expansion of an earlier general community quarantine over the National Capital Region.

The entire National Capital Region—16 cities and a municipality—is under community quarantine from March 15 to April 14, which means the enforcement of social distancing measures like letting fewer people on public transportation, reduced store hours, and the possibiity of curfews.

According to a memorandum issued by the Palace on Saturday, March 14, the quarantine means that "movement of people shall be limited to accessing basic necessities and work; and uniformed personnel and quarantine officers shall be present at border points."

Travel restrictions in and out of the capital will also be implemented.

April 29, 2020 - 7:51pm

Batangas, one of the provinces hardest hit by the novel coronavirus, has reported no new cases of the disease for two consecutive days.

The provincial DOH Office says the number of COVID-19 cases in the province stood at 91 with no new cases as of Wednesday afternoon.

Lipa City has the most cases with 26, followed by Batangas City (21) and Nasugbu (11).

Tanauan City has the fourth most cases with eight, followed by Bauan (5) and Alitagtag (3). Cuenca and Sto. Tomas City had two cases each, while the municipalities of Calaca, Lemery, Lian, Lobo, Mabini, Mataas na Kahoy, Padre Garcia, San Jose, San Juan, San Pascual and Taal had one case each, respectively. — The Filipino Connection

April 29, 2020 - 5:39pm

Quezon City's Task Force Disiplina has been instructed to withdraw its complaint against Michael Rubuia whom city "enforcers" were caught on video beating with sticks over alleged quarantine violations.

The QC government says in the same statement that the enforcers of Task Force Disiplina have been issued show-cause orders for their actions. They may also be put on preventive suspension.

It also says Ruguia will be released to the city's drug rehabilitation center "in view of his positive drug test."

A police report on the April 27 incident did not mention the beating by task force personnel nor that he Ruguia had tested positive for drugs.

More on that incident here: QC to investigate 'local authorities' caught on video beating man lacking face mask

April 28, 2020 - 10:26pm

A 72-year-old Person Deprived of Liberty at the Correctional Institution for Women-Mandaluyong who had tested positive for COVID-19 died on Monday, the Bureau of Corrections says Tuesday.

She was the first confirmed COVID-19 case at the correctional facility and had been hospitalized on April 13 "after experiencing pneumonia symptoms," BuCor says.

"It can be recalled that her admission to the hospital triggered the contact tracing and isolation of those PDL that had contact with her days before she was brought to the hospital," BuCor also says.

Of 130 PDLs tested, 47 have been confirmed to have COVID-19.

A CIW PDL who had been admitted to East Avenue Medical Center on April 13 and who died on April 21 has also been confirmed to have had COVID-19. The results of the test, done on April 14, were only released on Monday.

April 27, 2020 - 2:59pm

Two new confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported in Lipa City on Monday even as the total recoveries jumped to five out of the 26 confirmed cases so far, the Lipa City government said.

Mayor Eric Africa announced that two male patients, ages 78 and 27 years old, tested positive for the virus, raising the city’s total infections to 26 – the most in Batangas province. The Filipino Connection

April 26, 2020 - 3:10pm

Community farms could be a "short cut" to meeting the country's food needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, Caritas Philippines says, citing community farming projects that the Catholic Church in the Philippines is helping.

"The social amelioration program is not efficiently solving our food security problem however we see it as a necessary short-cut solution," Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, national director of Caritas Philippines says

"Thus we at NASSA/Caritas Philippines strongly urge our government, especially the Department of Agriculture to start mobilizing farmers at the community level while we still have time."

The Department of Agriculture has said urban and community farming is among its strategies toward food security during the pandemic.

Bagaforo says "our community farms are helping deliver fresh vegetables to families severely affected by work suspension in Iligan, Bayombong and Camarines Sur, while a local farmers' cooperative supported by the diocese of Libmanan in Camarines Norte and the Gratia Plena program of the Diocese of San Jose in Nueva Ecija are supplying thousands of sacks of commercial and organic rice to Luzon provinces."

Backyard gardening programs in Iloilo, Bukidnon, Quezon, Leyte, the Samar provinces, Capiz, Oriental Mindoro and Zambales have also helped ensure food security for farming families, he says.

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