Is the Philippines the Next COVID-19 Epicenter in Southeast Asia?

We now have 115,980 confirmed cases.

ILLUSTRATION War Espejo

(SPOT.ph) On April 13, the Philippines reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia with 4,932 confirmed cases. Our numbers have been rising since, and we've managed to keep our stats far below Indonesia's—but we're begining to close the gap. On August 5, The Straits Times reported that Indonesia now has a total of 116,871 cases, less than a thousand away from the Philippines' 115,980 cases, which was reported by the Department of Health at 4 p.m. This prompts the question: Is the Philippines the next COVID-19 epicenter in Southeast Asia?

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Among the ASEAN countries, only the Philippines has surpassed the 40,000 mark when it comes to active COVID-19 cases. It first did so on July 18 when the Department of Health (DOH) reported 41,464 active cases, which continued to rise to 56,528 active cases on July 29. This number significantly dropped on July 30 after DOH implemented a "mass recovery" adjustment where "all mild and asymptomatic cases have been re-tagged as recovered." This recorded the highest number of recoveries in a day with 38,075, bringing the total to 65,064; while the active cases went down to 22,327.

On August 4, the Department of Health reported 6,352 new coronavirus infectionsthe biggest daily jump in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, bringing the national total to 44,429 on Tuesday. This is just one of the five all-time high numbers in the past week. "The Philippines could soon become the new epicentre for the coronavirus pandemic in Southeast Asia," wrote The Straits Times in another report, attributing to the record single-day jump.

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In a report by CNBC on April 2, Teo Yik Ying, dean at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore, said that "in a month’s time, the [COVID-19] epicenter will shift." He speculated that this could be South Asia, Africa, or Latin America. "We don’t know at the moment, but there is that real risk that the epicenters will continue to shift, and it could possibly even shift back to East Asia," he added.

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PHOTO BY Facebook/Department of Health

As of August 5, the United States has the most number of COVID-19 cases in the world with more than four million infected individuals. The Philippines has a total of 115,980 confirmed cases with 47,587 active cases, 66,270 reported recoveries, and 2,123 reported deaths.

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