MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines recorded 4,575 more COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the third consecutive day the tally remained below 5,000, data from the health department showed as the country reopened its borders to fully vaccinated foreign travelers.
The positivity rate was at 15.1 percent, based on test results of samples from 36,407 people on Feb. 8, Tuesday, according to the latest Department of Health bulletin. This is the lowest positivity rate since Dec. 30, said Edson Guido, head of the ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team.
Of the newly reported cases, 3,461 or 76 percent occurred within the recent 14 days. Western Visayas (451 cases), Central Visayas (400 cases) and Metro Manila (392 cases) were the top regions with new infections in the recent two weeks.
The Philippines has so far tallied a total of 3,627,575 cases, of which 93,307 or 2.6 percent remain active. This is the lowest number of active infections since Jan. 7, when 77,369 were announced, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.
The day's active infections are broken down as follows: 312 critical, 1,444 severe, 2,991 moderate, 85,244 mild, and 3,316 asymptomatic.
COVID-related deaths increased by 94 to 54,783. This is the fourth straight day that the daily tally remained below 100, having ranged from 12 to 83 from Monday to Wednesday, the ABS-CBN IRG said.
Of the newly reported deaths, 66 occurred this month, 11 last month, one each in December, October and June last year, seven in September, three in August, and four in July, according to the DOH.
There were 7,504 more recoveries, raising the total number of recuperations to 3,479,485. According to the ABS-CBN IRG, this is the lowest daily tally since Jan. 13, when 4,694 recoveries were reported.
The DOH said 176 duplicates, including 132 recoveries and one death, were removed from the total case count, while 47 cases previously tagged as recuperations were reclassified as deaths after final validation.
Five laboratories, which contribute on average 0.8 percent of samples tested and 1.2 percent of positive cases, were unable to submit their data, the DOH said.
The intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization rate in Metro Manila and nationwide was at 31 percent and 39 percent, respectively.
The Philippines on Thursday welcomed fully vaccinated international tourists from 157 visa-free countries. They will no longer be required to undergo facility-based quarantine, but must test negative for COVID-19 and self-monitor for symptoms, Malacañang had said.
Another dialogue between the national government and Cebu province may be needed after the latter issued a policy allowing the entry of unvaccinated foreign travelers, Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said.
The government had also launched its third round of national vaccination days which aims to inoculate 5 million more individuals.
The Philippines has so far fully vaccinated 59.9 million people, while 60.7 million others have received an initial dose, and 8 million booster shots have been administered, as of Feb. 4.