Philippines posts 4,973 new COVID-19 cases

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 24 2021 04:41 PM | Updated as of May 24 2021 05:31 PM

Philippines posts 4,973 new COVID-19 cases 1
Residents pray outside a church in Navotas City on April 2, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines' total COVID-19 cases increased by 4,973 to 1,184,706 on Monday, data from the health department showed.

Active cases stood at 48,917, or 4.1 percent of the cumulative total. It is the lowest in five days, or since May 19 when 48,505 active cases were registered, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.

The number of active cases reported in previous days has been adjusted for duplicates, noted the group.

Of those still battling the disease, 95 percent are mild cases and asymptomatic, 1.6 percent are in critical condition, 2.1 percent are severe, and 1.4 percent are moderate.

The death toll, meanwhile, climbed by 39 to 19,983, and the total recoveries by 6,666 to 1,115,806.

The number of additional recoveries is the lowest in 3 days, while the number of new deaths is the highest in 2 days, said the ABS-CBN IRG.

Six laboratories "were not able to submit their data to the COVID-19 Document Repository System," the Department of Health's bulletin for the day read.

"Based on data in the last 14 days, the 6 non-reporting labs contribute, on average, 1.1 percent of samples tested and 1.3 percent of positive individuals," it said.

One of the 12 Filipinos who were infected with the B.1.617 variant, which was first detected in India, died last week, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press conference earlier in the day.

Authorities are checking if the spike in new cases in several regions are due to the presence of more contagious variants from overseas, she said.

The OCTA research group had urged the DOH to allocate majority of the COVID-19 vaccines in the country to the National Capital Region, Calabarzon and Central Luzon as 70 percent of cases in the country were in these regions.

"A national (vaccination) rollout program based solely on population, regardless of risk levels of each province or LGU (local government unit), will delay pandemic and economic recovery in the country due to global supply chain issues," OCTA said.

"The goal, therefore, is to vaccinate 45 to 50 percent of the population in high risk areas, 30 to 40 percent of the population in moderate high risk areas, and 20 to 30 percent of the population in moderate risk areas."

While Metro Manila remains to be the epicenter of the virus in the Philippines, other regions need to have vaccines too, Vergeire said as she nixed OCTA's proposal.

"Sa tingin namin, hindi ito posible dahil kailangan din natin bigyang pansin ang ibang rehiyon sa ating bansa," she said.

(We think this is not possible because we also have to give attention to other regions in the country.)

Next month, the Philippines will begin studying if a person can be inoculated with different vaccine brands, Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said.

The 18-month study will involve 1,200 participants, he said.

It comes after the DOH announced that local governments should not announce which vaccine brands are available in an inoculation site to "avoid crowding."

Hundreds of Filipinos earlier flocked to a hospital in Manila after word that Pfizer jabs would be administered there.

So far, the Philippines' inoculation program makes use of COVID-19 jabs from Britain's AstraZeneca, America's Pfizer, China's Sinovac, and Russia's Gamaleya Institute.

Millions of jabs from Moderna are expected to arrive next month through the orders of private firms that wish to inoculate their workers who are not yet eligible to join the government's vaccination program.

The Philippines is eyeing to jab at least 58 million people this year to attain herd immunity against the disease.

The vaccination started March 1, over a year since the country logged its first confirmed COVID-19 case in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged.

The woman's companion - a Chinese male - was the Philippines' first COVID-19 fatality, and the first of such case outside China.

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