By Analou De Vera
The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Saturday 180 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, raising the country’s total to 13,777.
Of the new confirmed cases, 114 were detected in the National Capital Region while the 66 others came from other regions.
The DOH also said the death toll is now at 863 after six more patients died of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the number of recoveries climbed to 3,177 as 85 more individuals recovered from the disease.
Actions amid COVID-19 pandemic
In a related development, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to “facilitate” solutions in the procurement of medical supplies amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Philippines appeals to the WHO to facilitate regional and global solutions in the procurement of PPE (personal protective equipment), testing kits, and [other] equipment,” said Duque in his statement at the recent 73rd Session of the World Health Assembly.
“A major setback was the availability of PPE for our health workers, who accounted for one in five infections, and infection, prevention, and control commodities for the general population,” he said.
Last April, the WHO-Western Pacific Region expressed their alarm about the number of healthcare workers in the Philippines who have contracted COVID-19, emphasizing the importance of PPE for medical workers.
Duque also urged the international organization to review its policy on travel restrictions and repatriations.
“As countries start opening up borders, and learning from best practices, it would be prudent for the WHO to rethink its policy and provide guidance on travel restrictions as well as repatriation,” Duque said.
He also said the Philippine government issued quarantine and testing guidelines for arriving overseas Filipinos and foreign nationals.
“This highlights the importance of ensuring that universal health care in countries of origin, transit, and destination do not leave behind the migrant population,” he said.
“The Philippine government is working overtime in the repatriation and quarantine of overseas and sea-based Filipino workers who have lost their jobs abroad due to the pandemic,” he added.