MANILA - The Philippines on Thursday reached its lowest number of active COVID-19 cases this year as it also recorded 975 more virus infections, data from the health department showed.
Of the 2,829,618 total recorded cases, 17,796 or 0.6 percent were active infections, according to the latest Department of Health (DOH) bulletin.
The last time active cases fell below 18,000 was on June 11 last year, during which 17,754 were recorded, the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group said, citing DOH data adjusted for duplicate cases.
Meantime, the number of fresh cases is the 6th lowest this year, following 957 infections logged on Jan. 4, the research group added.
COVID-related deaths increased by 193 to 47,875.
There were also 1,029 more recoveries, raising the total number of recuperations to 2,763,947.
A total of 17 duplicates were removed from the total case count, including 15 recoveries, while 181 cases previously tagged as recuperations were reclassified as deaths after final validation, the health agency said.
The positivity rate was at 2.8 percent, based on test results of samples from of 38,961 individuals on Nov. 23, Tuesday. It is the 13th consecutive day that the positivity rate remained below 5 percent, the threshold of the World Health Organization.
Two laboratories were non-operational on Tuesday while three others were unable to submit their data, the DOH said. The five laboratories contribute on average 0.3 percent of samples tested and 0.2 percent of positive cases, it added.
The intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization rate in Metro Manila and nationwide was at 29 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
Despite fewer daily cases and lower positivity rate, the government needs to conduct further study before it can declare it has controlled COVID-19 in the Philippines, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
The decline in virus cases has largely been attributed to the country's wide vaccination coverage. The government has so far fully vaccinated 34.2 million individuals, while 43.3 million others have received an initial dose as of Tuesday.
It plans to inoculate 15 million more during its 3-day nationwide vaccination program from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.