Philippines registers 106 new COVID-19 cases, with 3,870 in total


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MANILA, April 8 (Xinhua) -- The Department of Health of the Philippines on Wednesday reported 106 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country to 3,870.

The health body said 96 patients have recovered and 182 died from the viral disease.

Beverly Ho, special assistant to Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque, told a virtual media briefing that the Philippines will soon launch an "expanded and targeted" mass testing for coronavirus disease as the cases continue to rise.

Ho said that patients or healthcare workers with severe or critical symptoms will be the priority, adding that they have the greatest need for testing.

Next in line will be those who have mild symptoms with a relevant history of exposure or considered vulnerable, followed by those who are asymptomatic but have relevant exposure history, Ho added.

"This prioritization is in placed to optimize the use of available testing kits even as we continue to increase our testing capacity," Ho said. "For now, it is too early to tell if the Philippine cases are actually decreasing."

Ho said the department of health does not have hard data yet at this point whether or not the lockdown has helped slow the transmission.

Ho said the health department will know by mid-April if the enhanced community quarantine the government imposed on March 16 was effective in containing the disease.

The government has extended the lockdown period to April 30.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, spokesman for the inter-agency task force on COVID-19, said the Philippines' fight against COVID-19 is far from over.

The lifting of the quarantine on April 30 will depend on developments in the healthcare system and widespread testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, he said.