Eastern Visayas on Thursday recorded 572 additional cases of COVID-19, the highest reported in a day since the pandemic began, according to the local Department of Health.
According to the regional DOH, cases have increased due to non-compliance with most minimum health protocols and continued conduct of mass gatherings.
“Karamihan sa aming naitatalang kaso ng COVID-19 ay dulot pa rin ng super-spreader events gaya ng birthday parties, reunion at mga pagtitipon-tipon katulad ng fiesta,” said Dr. Mark Steven Capungcol of DOH-Eastern Visayas.
“Inuulit po namin na ang mga ganitong pagtitipon ay maaaring magdulot ng COVID-19 transmission na pwede ring ikamatay ng mga mahihina o vulnerable groups,” he added.
Tacloban is the city with the highest number of new cases, at 112.
Leyte ranks first, with 163 cases, among the provinces. Northern Samar followed with 123 new cases.
Due to the increase in cases in Tacloban, the local government has tightened surveillance at the city’s entry points, such as the San Juanico Bridge.
On Wednesday, 17 passengers from Luzon were caught at the bridge checkpoint, most of whom failed to show the relevant documents to enter the city.
Recently, 5 truck drivers from Nueva Ecija were arrested at the checkpoint for not following health protocols.
COVID-19 surge in E. Visayas blamed on birthday parties, reunions
The arrested were taken to quarantine facilities.
According to the report released by the OCTA Research Group, the city has an average of 213 new cases compared to 207 in Quezon City, which always tops the list.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said it is not fair to compare Davao to Quezon City because the situation of the 2 cities is different. He said many go to Davao City for checkups.
However, the Department of Health (DOH) clarified Wednesday that Davao City is not the new “epicenter” of COVID-19 in the Philippines.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH discourages the use of “epicenter” to describe a COVID-19 surge in an area.