MANILA: The Philippines recorded 2,378 new coronavirus infections on Sunday (Aug 23), its smallest daily spike in nearly four weeks, but the nationwide tally rose to 189,601, still the highest in Southeast Asia.
In a bulletin, the Department of Health also reported 32 more fatalities, bringing the country’s death toll to 2,998.
The global death toll from the coronavirus approached 800,000 on Saturday, according to a Reuters tally, with the United States, Brazil and India leading the rise in fatalities.
On Monday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte eased the strict coronavirus lockdown in and around the capital Manila as his government promised a “refreshed” approach to fighting COVID-19 that includes intensified testing.
Duterte said there was a need to reopen the economy with small and medium enterprises “barely surviving”, while at the same time calling on the public to “follow the safeguards”.
The Philippines, which before the pandemic was one of Asia’s fastest growing economies, fell into recession for the first time in 29 years with a record slump in the second quarter, due to the pandemic-induced lockdown.