MANILA, July 31 (Mabuhay) — There are now 89,374 Filipinos infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) after the Department of Health (DOH) reported a record-high 3,954 new cases on Thursday, 1,320 of which were “fresh” or newly validated and 2,634 were reported late.

This marks the first time that new cases breached the 3,000 mark and the 16th day in a row during which more than 1,300 new cases were announced.

The DOH also reported a staggering 38,075 new recoveries, bringing the total to 65,064, while the death toll climbed to 1,983 after 23 more patients succumbed to the respiratory illness.

The department attributed the record-high new cases and recoveries to “enhanced data reconciliation efforts with local governments.”

“Early this month, the DOH created the COVID-19 Surveillance and Quick Action Unit which focuses on data collection, validation, and reconciliation of information available at the local and national level,” it said in a statement.

“These massive data reconciliation efforts have resulted in faster and more accurate tagging of health statuses, particularly on deaths and recoveries. Data on recovery reconciliations will be reported every 15 days,” it added.

The DOH explained that the data reconciliation efforts led to the identification of over 3,000 new recoveries between July 12 and 14, while the “mass recovery adjustment” on July 15 re-tagged all mild and asymptomatic cases as recovered.

Out of the 38,075 new recoveries, 37,166 were mild or asymptomatic cases recorded in June and July and re-tagged as recovered while 909 were newly reported by regional and epidemiological surveillance units for July 30.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said repeat tests would no longer be required for a COVID-19 patient to be tagged as a recovery.

“Current recovery policies now show that at the 10th day of illness, the risk of transmitting the virus to other people is significantly reduced,” the DOH said.

“Based on Department Memorandum 2020-0258, [patients] after 14 days without symptoms [are] deemed recovered,” it added.

The number of active cases undergoing treatment or quarantine also dropped to 22,327, 88% of which are mild, 9.6% are asymptomatic, 1.4% are severe and 1% are in severe condition.

The department also removed 66 duplicate cases from the total tally of infections.

The government’s inter-agency COVID-19 task force is set to recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte another extension of the general community quarantine over Metro Manila.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque earlier said “things will not be the same” after the chief executive announces changes to the country’s coronavirus response later on Thursday. 

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday said 15 more Filipinos were afflicted with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the Asia Pacific and Europe, jacking up the total number of infected Filipinos abroad to 9,407.

The DFA also reported one new recovery in Europe, bringing the overall tally to 5,462. Meanwhile, the death toll remains at 666 with no new fatality registered by the agency.

“The total number of countries and regions with confirmed cases among Filipinos is now 71,” the DFA said.

There are 3,279 active cases among overseas Filipinos, 252 are under treatment in the Asia Pacific, 504 in Europe, 2,400 in Middle East/Africa, and 123 in the Americas. “As we celebrate International Friendship Day and commemorate World Day Against Trafficking in Persons today, the DFA, together with its Foreign Service Posts, call for unity and partnership as we fight persisting global problems and concerns that confront our society, sparing no one, regardless of nationality or race. Together, let’s heal and recover as one,” the agency said in a statement. (MNS)

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