The Philippines now has 501 positive cases of the COVID-19, health officials announced earlier today. In an article published by the New York Times and a local news site, Rappler, the death toll climbed up to 33. To put that in perspective, the country's mortality rate stood at 6.59 percent. Recoveries, on the other hand, stand at 3.79 percent with 19 patients beating the disease. These figures prompted government and health officials to brave for the next few days, as numbers are expected to rise with testing facilities being more available to the public.

First case

This new strain of coronavirus [VIDEO]first originated from Wuhan, China. The Philippines' first case came from the latter when a tourist traveled to the Philippines. It was confirmed on January 30, 2020. She recovered but her husband, which is the country's second case, has died. She has since been discharged. The government has received criticism for not issuing a travel ban immediately while the country was still COVID-free.

On March 6, 2020, the country announced its first confirmed local case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) from a 62-year old man who has not traveled abroad. The man frequented a shopping mall in San Juan City, just beside Manila, with a church inside where he usually prays.

Following the announcement, strict measures were finally observed.

Metro Manila lockdown

With cases growing rapidly, President Duterte ordered a Metro Manila lockdown which started at midnight March 15, 2020. This means people from the metro can't go in and out of the capital region. People residing outside but working in the capital can, however, be allowed entry provided they have proof of their employment which they need to present at various checkpoints.

Enhanced quarantine was announced days later which saw the cancellation of work by government and various private sectors. Classes at all levels were suspended as well. Tourists were advised to leave the country and catch the earliest flights possible to avoid being stuck in the country for an indefinite time. Panic buying and hoarding was seen with face masks and alcohol running out of stock fast and as of this writing, is nowhere to be found.

Luzon-wide community quarantine

The whole island of Luzon, which Manila is part of, and with residents of at least 57 million, was placed under quarantine. This means movement was limited and classes and works were suspended too. People who fled the Manila lockdown and went to their provinces were also advised to self-quarantine themselves in the comfort of their homes for 14 days before they will be allowed to go out. They are termed as People Under Monitoring (PUM). The situation is projected to worsen in the next few days and people were advised to just stay at home.