Philippines' COVID-19 cases surpass 1,000, death toll at 68

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 28) — The Department of Health on Saturday reported 272 new cases of coronavirus disease, the biggest increase in one day since the outbreak began, raising the country total to 1,075.

Fourteen more Filipinos have died of COVID-19 and related complications. The death toll is now at 68.

On the bright side, four more people have been cleared of coronavirus infection, for a total of 35 recoveries.

The DOH has said cases are bound to increase as the government expands its testing efforts. Five government laboratories can now test COVID-19 samples, a task which was previously done only by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

READ: COVID-19 test results from RITM out in 5 to 7 days, but not for long

Elderly patients succumb to COVID-19

Most of the new fatalities are elderly patients from Metro Manila, although the residence of one of them – a 71-year-old man, remains unknown.

Five of the deceased are from Quezon City, two from Manila, one each from the cities of Pasig, San Juan, Caloocan, Parañaque, Taguig, and one from Bulacan province.

Almost all of them have no recent travel history abroad, except for three whose travel details are unknown.

Their ages ranged from 60 to 86. They all had underlying medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, asthma, heart disease, and kidney disease, among others.

Those who have recovered include a 55-year-old man from Quezon City, a 46-year-old woman from Pasig City, a 30-year-old man from Mandaluyong City, and a 72-year-old man from San Juan City.

The DOH previously reported recoveries among elderly patients as well, although they are at higher risk for complications from COVID-19.

Over 600,000 cases globally

Worldwide, COVID-19 has killed more than 27,000 people, mostly in Italy, although the outbreak began in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Over 600,000 people have gotten sick, according to the Johns Hopkins University's COVID-19 global tracker.

To prevent the spread of the virus, authorities are urging people to practice regular hand washing with soap and water, cover their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and avoid close contact with those who exhibit symptoms of the virus.

In the Philippines, the northern region of Luzon has been placed under enhanced community qauarantine, restricting people's movement, to contain the spread of the virus. Other local government units in the country have also shut their borders.