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Local Roundup: PH out of top 20 virus-hit nations; tally still down

The Philippines has dropped out of the top 20 countries with the most number of COVID-19 cases worldwide.

A tally by the Johns Hopkins University showed that Ukraine has taken the 20th spot with 381,664 cases.

As of Friday, the Department of Health logged 2,006 new infections, bringing the total to 378,933.

This is the 14th straight day that the daily tally was below 3,000.

The DOH also announced that total recoveries rose to 330,457 after 636 more patients recovered from the illness, while 38 new fatalities brought the nationwide death toll to 7,185.

The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide has reached more than 44.5 million.

Of this, the United States has recorded the most number of cases with 8,858,089, followed by India with 8,040, 203, and Brazil with 5,468,270.

More cases amid increased mobility

Experts from the University of the Philippines’ OCTA Research team said an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases as public transportation reopens further in many parts of the country.

“One of the big rules in pandemic management is that, as you increase mobility, you increase transmission,” said biologist Fr. Nicanor Austriaco.

“This makes sense from a biological perspective that when people meet each other and are able to leave their home, what you’ll be going see is there is more opportunity for the virus to move from person to another. There’s going to be an uptick, but the uptick doesn’t have to overwhelm or drown us,” he added.

Government has allowed increased ridership in public transportation by optimizing or reducing the physical distance between commuters, reopened more jeepney routes in Metro Manila and resumed motorcycle taxi pilot study since Oct. 23.

Price cap for swab test pushed

A congressional leader on Friday renewed her proposal for the government to set at P2,000-P2,500 the price cap for the COVID-19 swab test.

“The price should be affordable by the poor to encourage them to subject themselves to the gold-standard reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) screening if they show any symptom of new coronavirus infection,” House deputy majority leader and Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo said.

She said based on information she received, the cost of RT-PCR varies from P3,500, which is the price the Philippine National Red Cross charges, to a high of P12,500.

She said some government hospitals are charging higher rates than that of the Red Cross.

“Based on prevailing prices, I am suggesting that an affordable rate would be P2,000-P2,500. The results should be available in 24 hours,” Castelo added.

Tribute to the fallen

Leaders of the House of Representatives led by Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez on Friday paid a collective tribute to its incumbent and former members, as well as employees of the chamber who passed away, including those who have succumbed to COVID-19.

The House held a memorial service for lawmakers Nestor Fongwan of Benguet, Marissa Andaya of Camarines Sur, Francisco Datol Jr. of Senior Citizens Party-list and Maria Bernardita Ramos of the 2nd District of Sorsogon, who were not accorded the traditional necrological services due to safety and health restrictions stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Today, I join Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and my colleagues in the House of Representatives in paying tribute to four of our members in the 18th Congress who died in service to the Filipino people, but were not given the honors traditionally conferred due to the limitations imposed by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Romualdez, a lawyer and chairman of the powerful House Committee on Rules.

Topics: COVID-19 , Philippines , Johns Hopkins University , Department of Health
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