People wearing face masks and shields walk at a market in Manila, the Philippines, Aug. 18, 2020. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines soared to 169,213 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 4,836 new daily cases on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)
MANILA, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- The number of confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the Philippines soared to 169,213 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 4,836 new daily cases on Tuesday.
The DOH said that the number of recoveries surged to 112,861 after it reported 182 more patients have survived the disease.
The death toll also increased to 2,687 after seven more patients have succumbed to the viral disease, the DOH added.
Metro Manila topped the five regions or provinces with the highest number of daily confirmed cases reported on Tuesday with 2,959, followed by Laguna province, south of Manila, 321; Cavite province, south of Manila, 220; Rizal province, east of Manila, 185; and Bulacan province, north of Manila, 145.
Starting Wednesday, lockdown restrictions in Metro Manila, where most of the COVID-19 cases are recorded, and four outlying provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal will be eased after a two-week stricter lockdown to allow more industries and businesses to open.
However, the government warned to impose strict "localized" lockdown in areas with clusters of infections. Police also recommend the implementation of evening curfew to limit the movement of people.
"Just be careful, follow the safeguards," President Rodrigo Duterte said in a televised public address late on Monday when he put Metro Manila and the neighboring four provinces under a less strict lockdown.
While the government has loosened the restrictions, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said several strict measures would be imposed to control the spread of the virus.
"We need to open the economy while refreshing the government's responses to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)," Roque said.
He said minimum health standards, including wearing masks when out in public and social distancing, will continue to be enforced, as the government ramps up tracing, isolating, and treating those who tested positive for the virus.
Roque said the rest of the country are placed under an even more relaxed modified general community quarantine.
Health authorities said the drivers of virus community transmission in the Philippines include the workers, the returning overseas Filipinos displaced by the pandemic, and jails, workplaces, and even the public transport such as trains.
The government is conducting house-to-house visits to find asymptomatic coronavirus patients so that they can be tested, isolated, and treated.
In mid-March, the Philippines imposed a lockdown in Metro Manila and other high-risk regions to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The restriction measures strictly limited the movement of the people and halted economic activities due to the travel bans and temporary closures of schools, transport and businesses. The economy contracted as a result.
The Philippines has been grappling with surging infections despite the initial lockdown imposed in the early part of the pandemic.