MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines on Friday reported 14,977 active cases, the first time in a year and a half it fell below 15,000, data from the Department of Health showed.
The figure is 0.5 percent of the country's 2,833,878 cumulative infections, based on the latest DOH bulletin.
The last time that the number of active cases fell below 15,000 was on June 4, 2020 when the country recorded 14,996 active cases, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group, citing DOH data adjusted for duplicate and reclassified cases.
The country also reported 544 new COVID-19 cases, the 10th consecutive day it recorded less than 1,000 new infections. It is the third lowest figure so far this year, following 425 fresh infections on Tuesday and 500 on Wednesday.
COVID-related deaths increased by 235, resulting in a total of 48,987 fatalities. This is the highest in 2 weeks or since Nov. 19 when 277 deaths were announced, according to the ABS-CBN IRG.
The DOH also announced 734 more recoveries, raising the total number of recuperations to 2,769,914.
Seventeen duplicates were removed from the total case count, including 13 recoveries, while 218 cases previously tagged as recuperations were reclassified as deaths after final validation, according to the DOH.
Some 122 cases were found to have tested negative and have been removed from the total case count, it said. These cases are recoveries, the DOH added.
The positivity rate was at 1.8 percent, based on samples of 32,908 individuals on Dec. 1, Wednesday.
Two laboratories were non-operational on Wednesday while 3 others were unable to submit their data, the DOH said. The 5 laboratories contribute on average 1 percent of samples tested and 1.1 percent of positive cases.
The intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization rate in Metro Manila and nationwide was at 28 percent and 27 percent, respectively.