Image source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center ( › map)


Deaths due to the coronavirus disease in the Philippines have surpassed those in South Korea, one of the early pandemic hotspots, according to official figures.

The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday reported that Covid-19 fatalities totaled 297. South Korea has so far reported 214 deaths.

South Korea, however, has more Covid-19 cases than the Philippines: 10,512 versus 4,648. This meant that South Korea has kept the rate of fatality at 2 percent. The Philippines is at 6.4 percent.

The figures highlight the result of the disparity in the two countries’ Covid-19 responses. South Korea has employed mass testing, extensive contact tracing and strict quarantines, backed up by good public health system.

The Philippines has ordered quarantines but has struggled in conducting contact tracing. Mass testing will begin April 14, a month after lockdowns began.

The DOH reported 50 new deaths on Easter Sunday. Forty people were also reported to have recovered.

The World Health Organization (WHO), meanwhile, announced a final definition for reporting Covid-19 deaths:

“A Covid-19 death is defined for surveillance purposes as a death resulting from a clinically compatible illness in a probable or confirmed Covid-19 case, unless there is a clear alternative cause of death that cannot be related to Covid disease (e.g., trauma). There should be no period of complete recovery between the illness and death.”

WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned against lifting quarantines early.

“WHO wants to see restrictions lifted as much as anyone. At the same time, lifting restrictions too quicklycould lead to a deadly resurgence,” he said in a news conference. (