The cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continue to rise as the Department of Health on Tuesday morning reported 39 new cases in the Philippines.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said there are now a total of 501 cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines.
There is also an additional recovered patient, bringing the total number of recoveries to 19.
The total number of fatalities is still 33.
The number of cases may still go up later in the day when the DOH holds its regular briefing.
Luzon has been on lockdown since the DOH confirmed community transmission in the country.
This means that public transportation and other services have shut down temporarily.
Vergeire had earlier said that the big increase in the number of cases was due to improved testing capacity of laboratories.
She said the increases of cases might only be an “artificial” trend.
Vergeire said the Philippines is now able to conduct almost 1,000 tests for COVID-19 every day after several sub-national laboratories became operational.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the DOH could be missing half of the actual total number of COVID-19 cases in the country due to the limited testing capacity of laboratories.
“Habang dumadami ang ating testing capacity, malalaman natin ang tunay na trend ng transmission sa Pilipinas (While the testing capacity increases, we would know the real trend of transmission in the Philippines),” he said.
Once they have addressed the backlogs in testing, DOH said they can start to acknowledge the actual trend of COVID-19 transmission in the country by observing the increases in new infection cases. /Stacy Ang