41 more patients recover from COVID-19 as cases rise to 6,599

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 21) — Forty-one more COVID-19 patients have recovered from the disease in the country, bringing the total number of those who have survived the potentially deadly infection to 654, the Health Department reported Tuesday.

It also reported 140 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the country-wide total to 6,599. Of them, 437 have died, including nine new fatalities.

Last week, the department said more than 80 percent of coronavirus patients either exhibit mild symptoms or none at all. The country’s case fatality rate, meanwhile, stands at 6.6 percent, which is slightly higher than the global average of 6.4 percent.

Total recoveries have surpassed the tally of deaths for the seventh consecutive day, as the DOH started including in its report patients who have gotten well while under home quarantine. Previously, its recovery count only included those confined in hospitals.

The DOH also explained that it takes around 13 days up to more than a month for patients to recover, depending on the severity of their symptoms.

To contain the spread of the virus, the government has placed Luzon under enhanced community quarantine for a month now, suspending most work, classes, and mass transportation so people would stay home.

The Luzon-wide quarantine has been extended until April 30 amid daily spikes in new infections. Other local government units across the country enforced their own lockdowns.

President Rodrigo Duterte is due to decide this week on the fate of the lockdown, but health experts have recommended a modified quarantine, which will allow the easing of quarantine measures in areas with few or no COVID-19 infections.

The Philippines confirmed its first case in late January, a month after the coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China. COVID-19 has since infected more than 2.4 million worldwide and killed over 170,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University's COVID-19 global tracker.

To date, the Philippines has the third most number of cases in the Southeast Asian region, following Singapore and Indonesia, according to Johns Hopkins University.