The Department on Health (DOH) on Wednesday, Aug 19, confirmed 4,650 new coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases and 111 Covid-19-related deaths, as the government eases the lockdown in and around the National Capital Region.

The DOH said the Philippines now has a total of 173,774, the highest in Southeast Asia.

Metro Manila logged 3,092 new cases, followed by Cavite with 249, Laguna had 194, Rizal had 198, and Bulacan had 136.

Total active cases is now at 57,498.

Total recoveries rose to 113,481 after 716 more patients recovered from the respiratory disease.

Total deaths has risen to 2,795. Among these, 22 happened in the months of April to June, 13 in July and 76 in August.

Nearly half of the new deaths, or 52, are from Metro Manila, 29 are from Central Visayas, 11 from Calabarzon, six from Central Luzon, four from Zamboanga Peninsula, five from other regions nationwide, and four are repatriated Filipinos.

All five high-risk areas — Metro Manila and four nearby provinces — are on their first day back to a general community quarantine (GCQ) , after the government eased the restrictions allowing the opening of more businesses and increased movement.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said local government units in Metro Manila will impose a “unified” curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. during the GCQ.

Roque added that the government will intensify testing and continue house-to-house checks to trace Covid-19 patients with mild or no symptoms so they could be brought to isolation centers.

The government has so far tested more than 1.9 million people, and aims to test 10 million people – or nearly a tenth of the population – by the second quarter of 2021.

Roque noted that Manila, Muntinlupa, and Pasig will not be covered by the curfew hours on Wednesday night as their respective local councils need to amend their ordinances to reflect the change in schedule.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs said 26 more Filipinos abroad tested positive for Covid-19 raising the total to 9,959 with 5,868 recoveries and 733 deaths.  Rommel F. Lopez