COVID-19 infections in the Philippines breach 415,000, deaths now at 8,025
Jeepney drivers wearing face masks and placards reading "sir/mam, asking for help, we are jeepney drivers" ask for alms on a road a in Manila on August 6, 2020.
AFP/Lisa Marie David

COVID-19 infections in the Philippines breach 415,000, deaths now at 8,025

(Philstar.com) - November 20, 2020 - 4:05pm

MANILA, Philippines — The health department confirmed 1,639 mores cases of novel coronavirus on Friday, bringing the national caseload to 415,067.

Of the total cases recorded, 31,805 — or 7.7% are active, which means these patients are still undergoing quarantine or treatment.

Recovered patients are at 375,237, after 305 more people were reported to have survived the deadly virus.

However, the Department of Health logged 27 new fatalities, bringing the country's total death toll to 8.025.

The country's positivity rate currently stands 6%. This is based on the 17,081 people tested before 12 p.m. the day previous, 1,025 of whom tested positive.

While government officials have lauded the country's testing capacity, figures from business data platfrom Statista shows that it rates quite low in comparison to other nations worst hit by COVID-19. 

Of the 31 countries most impacted by the virus, the Philippines has the 27th lowest testing rate according to Statista— conducting only 48,331 tests per million of its population. For comparison, Israel, which tops Statista's list, conducts 576,111 tests per million of its population.

Statistic: Rate of coronavirus (COVID-19) tests performed in the most impacted countries worldwide as of November 18, 2020 (per million population)* | Statista

These gaps in testing are made all the more dire by the recent onslaught of typhoons which forced 55,352 families — or 221,437 Filipinos — to cram into 1,570 evacuation centers, according to a Nov. 19 NDRRMC report, where physical distancing and minimum health standards are harder to implement.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque during a virtual briefing Tuesday said those in shelters would be screened for the virus using antigen tests but cautioned that the government may not be able to test everyone. Like RT-PCR tests, antigen tests make use of swab samples but, unlike the RT-PCR tests, they are not considered the gold standard as they cannot definitively rule out the virus.

It has been 250 days since parts of the country were first placed under lockdown but cases continue to be announced by the thousand each day. 

Across the globe, coronavirus has afflicted nearly 56.81 million people, and killed 1.35 million.

— Bella Perez-Rubio

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