DOH: Most of new COVID-19 clusters from community transmissions

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 6) — Most of the new clusters of COVID-19 came from communities, including households, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Thursday.

It noted that these have contributed to the surge in daily case reports of infections.

At least 148 more areas with clustering were identified nationwide over the past week, according to the DOH. Of this number, 124 were from community transmissions, based on its Aug. 5 data.

“There is an ongoing community transmission,” the DOH said. “This means that it is becoming harder to clearly identify who infected our new cases or from which venues they are getting the infection.”

The department typically consider an area a cluster if there are more than two cases of the disease at the same time.

Earlier, National Task Force chief implementer Carlito Galvez said family reunions amid mass gathering restrictions are one of the new sources of viral transmission in the country. He cited a specific case in Nueva Ecija wherein he said a family reunion led to the infection of 60 people.

Health officials added that closed settings such as workplaces and health facilities are also at higher risk due to the increased challenges in maintaining physical distancing.

The Philippines has hit a grim milestone six times over the past week — when it broke its record for daily increase in infections for five days, and when it topped the list of nations in Southeast Asia in terms of coronavirus cases, with a tally approaching 120,000 on Thursday.

Besides community transmission, authorities have attributed the rise in numbers to an improved testing capacity, with the DOH saying the country has tested more unique individuals than any other nation in Southeast Asia.