MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippines' coronavirus disease rose by 385 on Friday, April 3, bringing the total cases in the country to 3,018.
The Department of Heath reported on Friday that 29 more patients died of COVID-19 – the biggest single-day increase in the coronavirus death toll in the country, so far – for a total of 136 fatalities.
The DOH also reported that another patient recovered from the virus, raising the total number of recoveries to 52.
According to Dr Beverly Ho, special assistant to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the sudden spike in the number of deaths is "attributed to the late reporting of previous deaths."
The Philippines recorded its first coronavirus case on January 30, a woman from Wuhan, China, who later recovered from the disease. The country had its first two locally-transmitted cases on March 6, when it had only 5 confirmed cases.
The DOH earlier said that the public can expect a spike in the number of cases due to the country’s expanded testing capacity. As of Thursday, tests were conducted at full scale in 8 laboratories nationwide.
At least 66 other laboratories are being prepared to handle tests, said the DOH. (READ: Where are testing centers for coronavirus in PH?)
On Thursday night, government said it planned to begin "massive testing" of persons under monitoring and patients under investigation for COVID-19 on April 14.
Health experts have estimated that the number of cases in the country may reach anywhere between 26,000 to 75,000. (READ: Ex-DOH chief: Actual number of virus cases could reach 75,000 in 2 weeks)
To contain the spread of the virus, President Rodrigo Duterte placed Metro Manila and the whole of Luzon on lockdown until April 14 and April 12, respectively, but this could be lifted or extended depending on the assessment of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the coronavirus, in consultation with experts and various sectors.
Duterte earlier signed the Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act which gave him 30 special powers to address the coronavirus pandemic.
The government also designated national quarantine centers to be used during the coronavirus outbreak which will be fully operational in about 10 days. Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said at least two centers will be fully-functional by April 10 while another center will be ready by April 12.
As of Friday, the virus has infected more than 1 million people, with over 50,000 deaths.