90 new cases in one day: Philippines COVID-19 cases exceed 500

Marje Pelayo

MANILA, Philippines – The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country has skyrocketed with 90 new cases on Tuesday alone (March 24), according to the latest report of the Department of Health (DOH).

As of today, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country totaled 552.

Two additional deaths were recorded, both patients were in their 70s and had preexisting conditions.

This brings the COVID-19 death toll in the country to 35.

Two more patients, meanwhile, recovered bringing the total number of recoveries to 20, according to DOH Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Both patients were confirmed cleared of the disease and were already discharged from the hospital.

Meanwhile, World Health Organization (WHO) country representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe clarified that there is no study or evidence yet to confirm the new symptoms allegedly emerging among those tested positive for COVID-19 as what was reported in Italy.

These alleged new symptoms include loss of the senses of smell and taste.

“We have heard of these reports, these have not yet been confirmed,” Dr. Abeyasinghe said.

“The focus should be on the key clinical features of this disease which is largely acute respiratory infection, accompanied by fever and sore throat,” the WHO Official added.

The WHO reiterated its call to the public to stay at home and abide by the enhanced community quarantine to help curb further spread of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the DOH is looking into the reason for the spike in the number of medical staff placed under quarantine at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Hospital.

Based on initial reports, there are about 520 medical personnel who were exposed to COVID-19 patients and are now in self-isolation.

“Ang DOH po ninyo ay nakikipag-ugnayan po sa nasabing ospital [The DOH is already coordinating with the said hospital],” Usec. Vergeire said.

“Aalamin natin kung ano ang mga isyu at humantong sa ganitong pangyayari. Papaano ang kanilang infection prevention and control hanggang sa maging malinaw sa atin kung ano ang dapat gawin [We will look into the issues that led to that increase – the hospital’s infection prevention and control – so we can plan for a clear solution],” the official concluded. –MNP (with inputs from Aiko Miguel)

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