By the Numbers: Tracking the Spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines

We also break down the number of confirmed cases by health facility, gender and residence.

The first case of coronavirus infection in the Philippines was reported on January 30, 2020. It was a 38-year-old woman from Wuhan, China, where the virus was first identified in December 2019. The woman’s male companion was positive case number 2. 

It was relatively quiet for the rest of February, with only one other confirmed case being reported—that of a 60-year-old Chinese woman who arrived in Cebu City from Wuhan, China via Hong Kong on January 20 and then traveled to Bohol.

It should be noted, however, that the country’s first death due to the virus happened just a few days later, in February 2. It was also the first reported coronavirus death in the world outside of China.

About a month later, two more individuals—one a 48-year-old and another a 62-year-old, both Filipino males—tested positive for the virus.

From then on, confirmed cases of individuals with the coronavirus started ballooning, with the DOH announcing an average of 9 to 10 new infections daily.


There was a big jump of 47 new cases reported on March 14 as the DOH worked double time to release the results of those who had undergone testing.

A day later, on March 15, President Rodrigo Duterte placed Metro Manila under community quarantine, which was effectively a lockdown that prevented people from traveling in or out of the National Capital Region, with the exception of working individuals and movement of essentials and basic services.

The lockdown was expanded into an “enhanced” community quarantine encompassing the entire of Luzon a day later.

New cases remained in the low double-digit figures during the middle of the month, until March 21, when the DOH announced 77 positive cases, the largest single-day number since the start of the crisis.

The record wouldn’t hold for long, as the number of positive cases rose to an average of 79 daily over the next few days, with the biggest single-day number of 90 being recorded on Tuesday, March 24.

As of 10pm on Thursday, March 26, the total number of positive coronavirus cases in the Philippines stands at 707, with 71 deaths and 45 recoveries. The fatality rate is at 6.4 percent.

The Philippines is currently 41st in the world in terms of number of reported positive cases, two less than South Africa and 13 more than India. However, we’re 18th in the world that reported the most number of deaths.

As of March 27, there are over 490,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the world, with over 22,100 reported deaths and over 113,600 recovered, according to Channel News Asia's coronavirus tracker map

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The Department of Health’s nCOV tracker provides useful information about the coronavirus for anybody who is interested. For example, both St Luke’s Hospitals—in Bonifacio Global City and Quezon City—have recorded the most number of positive COVID-19 cases, at 69 and 54 respectively, followed by The Medical City in Ortigas with 53, Cardinal Santos Medical Center with 52, Asian Hospital And Medical Center with 39, Makati Medical Center with 34, Lung Center of the Philippines and Research Institute for Tropical Medicine with 24 each, San Lazaro Hospital with 17, and the University Of The East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center with 14.

Male patients who tested positive far outnumber women in all age groups excect for those aged 90-99.


And in terms of geography, Quezon City in Metro Manila currently has the most number of cases by residence, with 11.7 percent of patients reporting it as their residence. The rest of the top 10 includes San Juan City with 6.1 percent, Makato City at 4.7 percent, City of Manila and Pasig City both with 4.1 percent, Taguig City with 3.4 percent, Mandaluyong City with 3.3 percent, and the cities of Parañaque and Cainta in Rizal with 1.7 percent.

During a press conference from his home on Thursday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the number of confirmed cases reflects those that underwent testing before the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine on March 15. He expressed hope that, with the government’s extreme lockdown measures, the number of cases will hopefully begin to go down, effectively “flattening the curve,” so to speak.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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