Coronavirus cases in Philippines soar to 187,249
The DOH said that the number of recoveries surged to 114,921 after 436 more patients have survived the disease.
The death toll also climbed to 2,966 after 26 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 Saturday with 2,845, followed by Cavite province, south of Manila, 461; Laguna province, south of Manila, 288; Rizal province, east of Manila, 167; and Bulacan province, north of Manila, 152.
The Philippines is hiring up to 50,000 more contact tracers amid the surging coronavirus infections as the country plans to ramp up its case surveillance in the communities where most of the country's over 1,300 virus clusters were traced.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano, the vice-chair of the national coronavirus task force, earlier stressed the importance of adding more contact tracers to track down people who have been exposed to coronavirus. The Philippines now has 85,000 contact tracers, he added.
The government aims to trace 30 to 37 people, or 1:37, who have close contacts with a coronavirus case.
Tracing czar and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong earlier said that from a ratio of 1:4, Metro Manila obtained only a 1:5 after the strict quarantine measures imposed during the first two weeks of August.
It means that the region was able to trace five close contacts of one confirmed COVID-19 case. The ratio is the same in the outlying provinces with reported high coronavirus cases.
According to Magalong, aggressive contact tracing is the key to the success of the COVID-19 response in the northern Philippine Baguio City and Metropolitan Cebu in the central Philippines where infection rates have significantly reduced.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Western Pacific Region has recommended to the Philippines' Department of the Interior and Local Government the ramping up of contact tracing system to cut the virus transmission.
The Philippines has established "coordinated operations" to help the local government units contain the disease by aggressive testing, contact tracing, isolation, and treating the sick while gradually reopening more economic activities. ■