71 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed on 26 March, compared to 84 cases on 25 March. 7 additional deaths reported on 26 March, and 3 on 25 March.
Out of 707 confirmed cases, 39.9% are still under investigation. 61% are male, with people between 50 and 59 years of age among the most affected. 48% of cases are reported from the National Capital Region (NCR)
The Philippine government declared a national emergency with the signing of Senate Bill # 1418 ‘Bayanihan To Heal As One Act’ to speed up COVID-19 response as laid out in the National Action Plan, led by the Departments of National Defence (DND) and Interior and Local Government (DILG), including procurement and delivery of urgently needed supplies and equipment to health facilities.
100,000 test kits donated by China currently being distributed among 4 sub national laboratories after positive assessments from Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). Department of Health (DOH) looking into increasing testing capacity at private hospital laboratories.
DOH distributing available Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to priority public hospitals. PPE shortage remains a major challenge, posing increased risk for health workers.
Online training materials on Infection Prevention and Control for rational use of PPE among hospital workers being updated based on pilot conducted on 25 March for 65 participants from different agencies, including 3 hospitals in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)
COVID-19 infection was confirmed in a WHO Staff member on 24 March, the first confirmed case among over 2,000 UN staff members currently working in the Philippines. The staff is following treatment protocols and no other staff were exposed.
Many partners supporting Local Government Units (LGUs) with setting up isolation units at barangay level: importance to ensure distinction between confirmed and suspected cases to reduce further risk of transmission. Community quarantine measures aimed at decreasing stress on health facilities through minimizing risk of infection, potentially resulting in lower morbidity and mortality. Key focus on at-risk groups including elderly and people with underlying health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.