Philippines: Covid-19 cases surge past 260,000 as Filipinos turn to online businesses

Buses sit parked at a transport hub at the SM Mall of Asia complex, operated by SM Prime Holdings Inc., in Pasay City, Metro Manila, the Philippines. The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases surged to 261,216 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 3,372 new cases on Sunday. - Bloomberg

MANILA, Sept 13 (Xinhua): The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Philippines surged to 261,216 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 3,372 new cases on Sunday.

The DOH said that the number of recoveries also rose to 207,568 after 20,472 more patients recovered.

The DOH added that 79 more patients died, bringing the death toll to 4,371.

Metro Manila topped the five regions or provinces with the highest number of daily confirmed cases reported on Sunday at 1,307, followed by Cavite province, south of Manila, 240; Laguna province, south of Manila, 207; Negros Occidental province in the central Philippines, 199; and Bulacan province, north of Manila, 145.

According to the DOH, the country's 121 Covid-19 laboratories have tested over 2.89 million people so far.

Meanwhile, the government announced that the social media is now a market place that caters to people that prefer shopping from the comfort of their homes and on their smartphones due to the pandemic in the Philippines.

The Philippines' Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said online business registration in the country skyrocketed as more and more small entrepreneurs conduct business via the internet due to strict lockdown restrictions imposed to stem the spread of the deadly virus.

DTI data showed that registration of online businesses jumped to 75,876 as of Sept. 2 from 1,753 recorded in January to March 15 before the government placed Metro Manila and a large part of the economy under quarantine.

"We are pleased to know that our citizens are starting their businesses right by registering their business with appropriate government agencies, such as the DTI," Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

With the online business name registration system, Lopez said entrepreneurs find it easier to comply as they can finish the entire registration process within eight minutes.

He said the DTI saw a drastic increase of registration during the pandemic when business name applications reached 9,692 in May and further peaked in June when over 33,000 business names were registered.

"The silver lining in Covid-19 is the accelerated adoption of e-commerce," he said, adding that the DTI is also increasing its efforts to promote e-commerce "by building trust between consumers and merchants, and focusing on the digitalization of our micro, small and medium enterprises."

Aside from the increase in the number of total businesses registered, Lopez also said there was a surge in people transacting payments online. - Xinhua

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