Metro Manila (CNN) — Eight more patients with coronavirus disease have died as the number of cases in the Philippines nears 400, the Department of Health said Monday.
Health spokesperson Ma. Rosario Vergeire told CNN Philippines 16 new cases were confirmed, bringing the total number of COVID-19 patients in the Philippines to 396.
With the new eight deaths recorded, the total of fatalities is now 33. Eighteen patients have recovered from the highly-contagious viral disease.
She said the numbers are expected to go up as the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and several other subnational laboratories are addressing backlogs of test results.
"Baka magulat ang ating mga kababayan kapag lumabas ang numbers per day kasi biglang tataas because now that we are reducing the backlog," she said in an interview.
Globally, over 339,000 have been infected and 14,705 have died because of the viral disease. Over 98,000 have recovered.
The disease is spread through small droplets from the nose or mouth when people are infected with the virus cough or sneeze.
To prevent infection, authorities are urging people to practice regular hand washing, cover their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and avoid close contact with those who show respiratory symptoms.
Commonly reported COVID-19 symptoms are fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. Those with severe and critical symptoms should call the Health Department at (02) 8-651-7800 local 1149-1150.