MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines on Wednesday reported 2,646 new COVID-19 cases, the ninth straight day that infections crossed below 3,000, data from the health department showed.
The country's additional cases for the day is the highest in four days, or since Nov. 6 when the country logged 2,651, according to the ABS-CBN IRG.
Of the country's 2,809,311 cumulative total cases, 29,138 or 1 percent were active infections, according to the latest Department of Health (DOH) bulletin.
It is the lowest in more than 8 months or since Feb. 28 when 27,785 active cases were recorded, the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group said, citing DOH data that has been adjusted for duplicate and reclassified cases.
The DOH also said that the country's positivity rate was at 4.3 percent, based on test results of samples from 35,772 individuals on Nov. 8, Monday. This is the first time since Jan. 31 this year that it went below 5%, and is the Philippines' lowest since Dec. 14, 2020, according to ABS-CBN Data Analytics Head Edson Guido.
The World Health Organization's (WHO) benchmark for positivity rate is 5 percent or lower for at least two weeks. A relatively high rate means more people should be tested for the coronavirus.
COVID-related fatalities increased by 99 to 44,665, making it the third straight day that the daily death toll remained below 100, the research group said.
There were 4,029 more recoveries, raising the total number of recuperations to 2,735,508. This is the highest tally in 4 days, or since Nov. 6 when the country recorded 5,130 recoveries, the ABS-CBN IRG added.
Twenty-nine duplicates were removed from the total case count, including 20 recoveries and one death, while 84 cases previously tagged as recuperations were reclassified as deaths after final validation, the DOH said.
Seven laboratories, which contribute on average 15.2 percent of samples tested and 5.1 percent of positive cases, were unable to submit their data, the agency added.
The intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization rate in Metro Manila and across the country was at 40 percent and 42 percent, respectively.
The capital region could ease to the lowest alert level if virus infections continue to decline, Health Secretary Francisco Duque earlier said.
Metro Manila, home to around 13.5 million people, shifted to Alert Level 2 from Alert Level 3 beginning Nov. 5 until Nov. 21, allowing more businesses to reopen with up to 50 percent indoor capacity for fully vaccinated individuals and 70 percent outdoor capacity.
The Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19 is set to give its recommendation Thursday whether to lift the mandatory use of face shields in select areas, the DOH said. The gear is said to provide additional protection from the virus, but this has long been debated.
A nationwide 3-day vaccination drive aiming to inoculate 15 million individuals is being considered from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said.
More than 29.4 million people in the country are already fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while over 34.7 million others have received their first dose, based on monitoring of the ABS-CBN IRG.
Some 230,357 minors have received their first jab, with 0.10 percent adverse events recorded, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said.