MANILA, Aug 20 (Mabuhay) — The Philippines’ coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) tally soared to 173,774 after the Department of Health (DOH) announced 4,650 new infections on Wednesday, the eighth consecutive day in which over 3,000 new cases were logged.

The five provinces with the highest number of new infections were Metro Manila with 3,092, Cavite with 249, Laguna with 194, Rizal with 189, and Bulacan with 136.

Eighty-three percent or 3,848 of the newly reported cases caught COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

The total number of recoveries likewise rose to 113,481 after 716 more patients recovered from the respiratory disease, while the death toll climbed to 2,795 with 111 new fatalities.

Out of the newest deaths, 76 occurred in August, 13 in July, eight in June, nine in May, and five died in April.

There are also 57,498 active cases undergoing treatment or quarantine, 91.4 percent of which are mild, 6.5 percent are asymptomatic, 0.9 percent are severe, and 1.2 percent are in critical condition.

The DOH said figures reported on Wednesday were based on data submitted by 97 out of the 105 operational laboratories. It also removed 89 duplicate cases from the total tally of infections.

As of August 18, the Philippines had 82 certified polymerase chain reaction facilities and 27 GeneXpert laboratories that had tested a total of 1,992,128 individuals while 50 percent of COVID-19 intensive care unit beds nationwide were occupied and 28 percent of mechanical ventilators were in use.

Experts from the University of the Philippines earlier warned that cases could spike to 230,000 by the end of August following the loosening of quarantine restrictions.

The Department of Science and Technology said a COVID-19 vaccine will likely be rolled out in the country by the second quarter of 2021.

Meanwhile,  the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday reported 26 new coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases among Filipinos in the Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East, raising the overall case count abroad to 9,959.

Eight more recoveries and seven fatalities were also recorded by the agency, bringing the numbers to 5,868 and 733, respectively.

Most of the deaths were recorded in the Middle East/Africa with 452 to date, followed by the Americas with 178, Europe with 95, and the Asia Pacific with eight.

There are 3,358 Filipinos still undergoing treatment for Covid-19, at least 357 are in the Asia Pacific, 501 are in Europe, 2,341 are in the Middle East/Africa region, while 159 are in the Americas.

“As we celebrate World Humanitarian Day today, the DFA acknowledges the challenges faced by humanitarian workers whose work is made more daunting by the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, we honor all of them, including those in our Foreign Service Posts and our nationals in different parts of the world who are working tirelessly in the frontlines,” the DFA said in a statement.

“Rest assured that the DFA is committed to ensuring the protection of its personnel, so that they may serve the Filipino people, whenever and wherever possible,” it added. (MNS)

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