The Department of Health (DOH) announced at least 55,000 cases in the Philippines, a sudden spike in Covid-19 cases in the country after a couple of months when the country was able to handle the soaring caseload.

As of March 2nd, the country currently has 616,611 cases, and per million population the current daily confirmed cases is 5575. The fatality rate also spiked from 1.9% to 2.1% as of today. This surge in cases is somehow similar to what happened in the country last year where healthcare workers in the country called for a "time-out".

But this time, the Philippines is also battling the latest virus variants from Brazil, the United Kingdom and South Africa. These variants are more contagious than what the country grappled with last year prompting local government units in the country to lockdown.

On Saturday, the D.O.H. on Saturday said it had detected the first P.1 variant of the coronavirus, also known as the variant of concern (V.O.C.) from Brazil. The D.O.H. said that it was found in a Filipino worker, who is from Western Visayas, who had returned from Brazil.

The country in South America is still grappling not only with cases, but also high number of deaths from the virus. The health department also informed the public, that all of the variants of concern globally are now in the Philippines. They reported a total of 177 cases of the more contagious U.K. variant and another 90 cases of the variant from South Africa.

The number of cases above is also incomplete—due to 7 laboratories in the country weren't able to submit Covid-19 data on March 12.

The OCTA Research group in the country said that the daily new cases of Covid-19 in the Philippines could reach up to 7,000 by the end of March as the country on Saturday met its earlier projection of 5,000 new cases, which actually surpassed it.

Vaccination Efforts

Meanwhile, the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (A.D.B.) granted the Philippine government a total of $400 million worth of loans while the Washington-based World Bank approved $500 million worth of funding support for nationwide vaccinations in the country.

“Covid-19 vaccines are critical to accelerating the recovery of the Philippine economy, rebuilding livelihoods and restoring quality jobs. With this financing, A.D.B. seeks to help the country save lives and allow Filipinos to return to normal life as soon as possible,” A.D.B. President Masatsugu Asakawa said in a press statement.

The A.D.B. also said that any vaccine supply contract supported by bank will follow its own procurement rules and guidelines, including its anti-corruption and integrity policy.

As of March 3, at least 30,000 healthcare workers and government personnel have received vaccines in the Philippines.