Philippines reports 17,677 more COVID-19 cases

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 25 2022 04:27 PM | Updated as of Jan 25 2022 04:49 PM

People walk past an advertising board promoting a COVID-19 testing service at a private medical center along Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City on January 12, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
People walk past an advertising board promoting a COVID-19 testing service at a private medical center along Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City on January 12, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATED) - The Philippines on Tuesday reported 17,677 more COVID-19 cases as omicron became the predominant coronavirus variant in the country, the Department of Health said.

Of the newly reported cases, 17,157 or 97 percent occurred within the recent 14 days. Calabarzon (2,629 cases), Metro Manila (2,570 cases), and Central Luzon (2,266 cases) were the top regions with cases in the recent two weeks, the agency said.

This is the first time since the first week of January that the daily tally fell below 20,000. The DOH announced 17,220 cases on Jan. 6, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.

Cases are relatively lower every Tuesday because of fewer tests conducted over the weekend, said Edson Guido, head of the ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team.

The positivity rate has gone down to 37.2 percent, based on test results of samples from 43,874 individuals on Jan. 23, Sunday, based on the latest DOH bulletin. This the lowest figure since Jan. 3, Guido said.

Six laboratories, which contribute on average 0.6 percent of samples tested and 0.8 percent of positive cases, were unable to submit their data, the DOH said.

The Philippines has so far tallied a total of 3,459,646 COVID-19 cases, of which 247,451 or 7.2 percent remain active. This is the 12th highest since the pandemic began, following 262,997 active infections announced on Monday, according to the ABS-CBN IRG.

Of the 247,451 active cases, 235,181 (95.04 percent) were mild cases, 7,464 (3.02 percent) were asymptomatic, 2,996 (1.21 percent) were moderate cases, 1,502 (0.61 percent) were severe cases, and 308 (0.12 percent) were critical cases.

COVID-related deaths increased by 79 to 53,598. This is the fourth straight day that the daily tally of deaths remained below 100, the research group said.

Of the newly reported deaths, 60 occurred this month, four in December, one in November, six in September, five in August, and one each in July, in May and in March.

There were 33,144 more recoveries, raising the total number of recuperations to 3,158,597. 

Eighty-seven duplicates, including 52 recoveries, were removed from the total case count, while 35 cases previously tagged as recuperations were reclassified as deaths after final validation, the DOH said.

The intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization rate in Metro Manila and nationwide was at 44 percent and 50 percent, respectively. 

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The omicron variant is now the predominant COVID-19 lineage in the Philippines, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

"Maituturing na pong predominant variant ang omicron sa National Capital Region at sa iba pang bahagi ng ating bansa dahil sa tumataas nitong bilang ng naitatalang kaso same with the trends, characteristics of the omicron variant," she told reporters.

(We can now consider the omicron as the predominant variant in National Capital Region and other regions because the increase in cases is the same with trends, characteristics of the omicron variant.)

"Patuloy po sa pagtaas ang bilang ng mga kaso, positivity rate, utilization rates sa areas outside of the NCR Plus dahil sa transmission ng omicron at maaaring meron pa rin pong nagsi-circulate na delta variant."

(Virus cases, positivity rates, and utilization continue to rise in areas outside of NCR Plus due to omicron transmission and possible remaining circulation of the delta variant.)

High vaccination rates, adherence to minimum public health standards, proactive isolation, the alert level system and granular lockdowns help protect the country's health systems, Vergeire added.

The Philippines as of Sunday has fully vaccinated 57.26 million or 73.33 percent of 78 million eligible for COVID jabs, according to the spokesperson. Some 59.79 million or 76.57 percent of the target population has received an initial dose, she added.