Philippines logs 28,471 new COVID-19 cases, death toll nears 53,000

Philippines logs 28,471 new COVID-19 cases, death toll nears 53,000

Philippines logs 28,471 new COVID-19 cases, death toll nears 53,000
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MANILA, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) — The Philippines reported 28,471 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, raising the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 3,270,758.

The Department of Health (DOH) said the number of active cases dipped to 284,458 from an all-time high of 290,938 recorded on Monday. The country’s positivity rate dipped further to 43.4 percent from 46 percent for the previous day.

The DOH said 34 more people died from COVID-19 complications, bringing the total coronavirus death toll to 52,962. Five laboratories failed to submit data on Tuesday.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the country’s COVID-19 situation remains at critical risk despite slowing down of the infection rate.

However, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the number of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila and other regions continued to rise. “There is an upward trend in COVID-19 cases in other regions. Case increase affects all island groups,” she told an online briefing on Tuesday.

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Read more: Philippines logs 37,070 new COVID-19 cases, death toll reaches 52,929

Vergeire also noted a “steep increase” in hospital admissions in Metro Manila in the past week.

“With bed utilization now at 60 percent and intensive care unit utilization at 58 percent, it is important to mitigate the risks of Omicron to protect the most vulnerable and the entire system,” she added.

The DOH blamed the case surges on people’s “token compliance” with safety health protocols during holidays amid the fast spreading of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. It said more people, including those wearing masks and vaccinated, are contracting the virus now.

The DOH said the Omicron variant was detected in over 90 percent of the samples based on the latest genome sequencing, indicating that it is now the dominant variant in the Philippines.

The country has reported its highest single-day tally last Saturday with 39,004 new cases. The Philippines, which has a population of around 110 million, has tested more than 24 million people since the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

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