MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines on Wednesday announced 3,218 new COVID-19 cases, the third straight day it fell below 5,000, raising the country's total to 2,768,849, data from the health department showed.
The number of fresh infections is also the lowest in more than five months, or since May 23 when the Department of Health announced 3,083 new cases, the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group said.
Of the cumulative total cases, 50,152 or 1.8 percent were active, the DOH said in its latest bulletin. This is the lowest in nearly 3 months, or since July 29 when 49,529 active cases were recorded following removal of duplicate cases, the ABS-CBN IRG added.
The country's virus positivity rate was at 7.6 percent, based on test results of samples from 41,049 individuals on Oct. 25, Monday. It is the lowest since March 1, according to ABS-CBN Data Analytics Head Edson Guido.
Meanwhile, COVID-related deaths increased by 271, pushing the total to 42,348. The figure is the highest in 5 days, or since Oct. 22 when the DOH logged 283 fatalities, according to ABS-CBN IRG.
There were also 6,660 more recoveries, bringing the total number of recuperations to 2,676,349. This is the lowest in 5 days, or since Oct. 22 when the DOH recorded 4,748 recoveries, data from ABS-CBN IRG showed.
Forty-one duplicates were removed from the total case count, including 37 recoveries, the DOH said. It added that 227 cases previously tagged as recoveries were reclassified as deaths after final validation.
A laboratory, which contribute on average 0.06 percent of samples tested and 0.07 percent of positive cases, was unable to submit their data, the DOH said.
The intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization rate in Metro Manila and all over the country was at 42 percent and 51 percent, respectively.
The government has so far fully vaccinated some 26.2 million people, while 30.6 million others have received an initial dose. It aims to inoculate up to 77 million to achieve herd immunity against the respiratory illness and safely reopen the economy.
The wide vaccination coverage has caused the decline in new infections in the country, said the OCTA research group, which bases its analysis on data from DOH, even as cases of new variants have been detected.
More tourist destinations will no longer require confirmatory swab tests or RT-PCR tests from travelers as they reach 100 percent vaccination rate, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.
These include Baguio, Iloilo City, Negros Occidental, and Negros Oriental, among others.
The Philippines on Nov. 3 will expand its pediatric vaccination to include all children aged 12 to 17 nationwide, the DOH said.
So far, 18,666 children with comorbidities have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in Metro Manila as of Tuesday, nearly 2 weeks after the program was launched.
The World Health Organization's emergency committee said Tuesday that the COVID-19 crisis is far from over, as it called for research into next-generation vaccines for long-term control of the pandemic.
- with report from Agence France-Presse