MANILA, March 26 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported on Friday 9,838 new COVID-19 infections, the highest ever daily tally since the outbreak began in January last year.
Friday's record daily increase pushed the nationwide count in the Southeast Asian country to 702,856, including 13,149 deaths after 54 more patients died from the viral disease on Friday, the DOH daily bulletin showed.
The country has seen an increase in infections among frontline health workers in recent weeks, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Friday.
"Our health care workers are being infected again after a drop in infections from November last year to February this year," Vergeire said AT an online briefing, adding that more health care workers contracted the virus from March 1 when overall confirmed cases spiked.
The DOH data showed that 82 health care workers have succumbed to the disease as of March 25. At least 15,662 medical workers, primarily nurses, and physicians, have contracted the virus.
Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said the government is reopening the quarantine facilities and preparing modular hospitals in and outside Metro Manila in case the surge continues.
Vega told reporters that the DOH plans to use modular hospitals to treat moderate to severe coronavirus patients.
"We need to expand the capacity for moderate and severe cases," Vega said, stressing the "need for step-down care facilities to decongest the big hospitals" in Metro Manila.
"For the last several days, the spike in active and new cases is high in Metro Manila. Around 53 percent of new cases come from Metro Manila and adjacent Cavite, Laguna, and Bulacan provinces," Vega explained.
"We are now in a stage wherein it's going to be very difficult, it's difficult for the hospitals, difficult for the health care workers," Vega said.