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COVID-19 cases hit 18,638 as Philippines eases virus lockdown

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
COVID-19 cases hit 18,638 as Philippines eases virus lockdown
Commuters at the LRT2 Cubao station in Quezon City wear protective gear and are reminded to practice distancing measures on the start of the general community quarantine in Metro Manila on June 1.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines said its caseload of novel coronavirus infections reached 18,638 Monday as Metro Manila and other areas at high-risk of virus transmission shifted to a more relaxed community quarantine that allowed more businesses to reopen and workers to return to their jobs.

The Department of Health reported 552 new cases. Of the additional cases, 119 were classified “fresh” or test results that were released to patients in the last three days, while 433 were “late” cases from the agency’s testing backlog.

The total number of patients who have survived COVID-19 increased to 3,979 with the recovery of 70 more patients.

But fatalities related to COVID-19 also rose to 960 after three fatalities were added to the toll.

Metro Manila—home to more than 12 million people and the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak—transitioned to the more relaxed general community quarantine Monday. After nearly three months, workers in the capital region returned to their jobs that were shut by virus lockdown and dealt with limited public transit.

In easing one of the world's longest lockdowns, the DOH said the slower case and mortality doubling time and the critical care utilization rate guided the decision of the government. 

The novel coronavirus pandemic has infected at least 6.1 million people and killed over 367,000 since it first emerged in China in December last year.

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: May 16, 2022 - 11:09am

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

May 16, 2022 - 11:09am

Kim Jong Un slamms North Korea's pandemic response and ordered the army to help distribute medicine, state media said Monday, as the country said 50 people had died since first reporting an outbreak of Covid-19.

More than a million people have been sickened by what Pyongyang is referring to as "fever", state media said, despite leader Kim ordering nationwide lockdowns in a bid to slow the spread of disease through the unvaccinated population.

In a sign of how serious the situation may be, Kim "strongly criticised" healthcare officials for what he called a botched response to epidemic prevention — specifically a failure to keep pharmacies open 24/7 to distribute medicine. — AFP

May 15, 2022 - 9:28am

North Korea on Sunday reported 15 additional deaths from "fever" after the country recently announced its first-ever cases of Covid-19 and ordered nationwide lockdowns.

State media KCNA said a total of 42 people had died, with 820,620 cases and at least 324,550 under medical treatment.

Leader Kim Jong Un has said the outbreak has caused "great upheaval" in North Korea.

KCNA reported that "all provinces, cities and counties of the country have been totally locked down and working units, production units and residential units closed from each other."

Despite activating its "maximum emergency quarantine system" to slow the spread of disease through its unvaccinated population, North Korea is now reporting large numbers of new cases daily. -- AFP

May 14, 2022 - 1:41pm

North Korea announces 21 new "fever" deaths Saturday and says more than half a million people had been sickened nationwide, two days after confirming its first-ever cases of COVID-19.

Despite activating its "maximum emergency quarantine system" to slow the spread of disease through its unvaccinated population, North Korea is reporting tens of thousands of new cases daily.

On Friday alone, "over 174,440 persons had fever, at least 81 430 were fully recovered and 21 died in the country," the official Korean Central News Agency reported. — AFP

May 13, 2022 - 7:42am

North Korea on Friday announced its first Covid-19 death, saying that 187,000 people were being "isolated and treated" for fever as it confirmed the virus had spread nationwide.

"A fever whose cause couldn't be identified explosively spread nationwide from late April," the official Korean Central News Agency said.

"Six persons died (one of them tested positive for the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron,)" it added.

The isolated nuclear-armed country confirmed its first-ever cases of Covid on Thursday, saying it was moving into "maximum emergency epidemic prevention system" after sick patients in the capital Pyongyang tested positive for Omicron.

"On May 12 alone, some 18,000 persons with fever occurred nationwide and as of now up to 187,800 people are being isolated and treated," KCNA said.

With its 25 million people not vaccinated against Covid, North Korea's crumbling health infrastructure would struggle to deal with a major outbreak, experts say. -- AFP

May 12, 2022 - 6:56pm

A Covid-19 testing firm in Shanghai is being investigated by city officials after reports that residents were given false-positive results that landed them in harsh state quarantine.

The city has been under lockdown for weeks as China enforces a zero-Covid policy through shutdowns, mass testing and tight restrictions on movement -- with everyone who tests positive being sent to a government isolation centre, even those without symptoms.

Numerous Shanghai residents wrote on the Twitter-like Weibo platform this week that they received false-positive results from Zhongke Runda, which operates three testing centres in the financial hub of 25 million.

The group's parent company, Shanghai Runda Medical Technology, said in a stock filing Wednesday that reports about false positives have "casts doubt on the accuracy of Zhongke Runda's lab nucleic acid testing data" and an investigation is being held. 

The group's shares have slid since the reports first started on Monday. -- AFP

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