MANILA: Dozens of doctors’ groups on Saturday warned that the Philippines was losing the coronavirus fight, urging President Rodrigo Duterte to tighten a recently eased lockdown as cases surged and hospitals turned away patients.

Eighty medical associations representing tens of thousands of doctors signed the open letter as the country posted another record nearly 5,000 new cases on Saturday, pushing the total to more than 98,000. “Healthcare workers are united in sounding off a distress signal to the nation — our healthcare system has been overwhelmed,” the letter said.

An increasing number of health workers have fallen ill or quit their jobs, while some packed hospitals are now refusing to admit new patients, it added. The health department earlier said 34 health workers are among those who have died of the disease in the Philippines. Total deaths stood at 2,039 as of Saturday. The government has blamed poor compliance with health protocols for the sharp increase in infections. – AFP