COVID-19 spreads fastest in Philippines among Western Pacific countries

Nearly 10,000 new cases have been added in last two weeks, triple recent spread in Singapore

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(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that the Philippines has recently registered the highest COVID-19 infection rate among countries in the Western Pacific Region, adding nearly 10,000 confirmed cases in the past two weeks, which is almost triple the number recorded by Singapore in the same period.

According to the data, the Philippines reported 9,286 new COVID-19 cases from June 14 – 27, compared to Singapore's 3,105 new cases in the same period, per CNA. The Philippine Department of Health registered 653 new COVID-19 cases on Monday (June 29), bringing the total number of cases in the country to 35,455, of which 1,244 have died.

The Greater Manila Area began implementing the general community quarantine on March 17 in an effort to contain the spread of the virus. However, as the community quarantine measure caused severe damage to the economy, the country began to loosen restrictions imposed during the lockdown on May 16, allowing various industries and markets to reopen and restaurants to operate at 30 percent of their capacity.

WHO statistics show, however, that as of June 27, the newly added COVID-19 cases in the Philippines after the reopening had reached 22,197, accounting for 65 percent of the country's total cases. This indicates that the pandemic is not on the wane in the country.

The Philippine Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG ) said on June 26 that a total of 112 communities in the country are still under lockdown. Half of them are located in northern Luzon's Cordillera region; the rest are in Cebu and Metro Manila.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement that community lockdowns have proven effective in preventing the virus from spreading from hot spots to other communities. With the easing of the lockdowns, many Filipinos working in cities have begun to return home, spreading the virus from cities to provinces; therefore, many provinces have begun forbidding their residents from coming home or have been adopting stricter quarantine measures.