The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines will continue to increase, reaching almost 500,000 by the end of next month, a member of the University of the Philippines OCTA Research team said today.
“Right now, the rough estimate is between 450,000 to 480,000 by end of November, that’s the total number of cases. We saw that the number of active cases has gone down and that’s what’s important,” Prof. Guido David said in English and Filipino in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
However, he said that the number of COVID-19 cases may not reflect an accurate picture of the health crisis due to the Philippine Red Cross’s decision to halt its free coronavirus testing services. About two weeks ago, the organization announced that it will stop giving tests to overseas Filipino workers, frontliners, and passengers in seaports and airports because the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, which subsidizes the tests, has yet to settle its PHP930 million (US$19.114 million) debt. President Rodrigo Duterte said last week that his administration will pay for it, but the debt remains unsettled until this day.
Guido said that the Red Cross accounted for 38% of the COVID-19 testing in Metro Manila, the country’s coronavirus epicenter. He estimates that the current data from the Department of Health is underreported by as much as 50% due to the Red Cross’ refusal to provide free tests.
The Philippines has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia, at 371,630, including 7,039 deaths and 328,258 recoveries.
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