MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines on Monday logged 543 fresh COVID-19 cases and 113 more deaths, the Department of Health said as it flagged late reporting of fatalities.
This is the 8th straight day that the number of cases has remained below 700 and the 13th straight day that it counted fewer than 1,000, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.
Of the 2,835,154 total recorded cases so far in the country, 13,548 or 0.5 percent are active infections, based on the latest DOH bulletin.
This is the lowest number of active cases since May 31, 2020, when 13,085 were logged, the research group said, citing DOH data adjusted for duplicate and reclassified cases. The figure is also the lowest so far this year, it added.
COVID-related deaths increased by 113 to 49,499. Of the newly reported deaths, only 14 occurred this month while 21 percent occurred last month, the DOH said, citing late encoding of information.
"This issue is currently being coordinated with the Epidemiology and Surveillance Units to ensure information is up to date," it said of the late encoding.
The number of new fatalities is the lowest in four days or since Dec. 2 when 40 deaths were announced, according to the ABS-CBN IRG.
Meantime, there were 830 more recoveries, raising the total number of recuperations to 2,772,107.
Twelve duplicates were removed from the total case count, including 10 recoveries, while 102 cases that were previously tagged as recuperations were reclassified as deaths after final validation, the DOH said.
The agency said 152 cases, of which 147 were recoveries, were found to have tested negative and have been removed from the total case count.
The positivity rate was at 1.7 percent, based on test results of samples from 32,634 individuals on Dec. 4, Saturday.
Two laboratories were non-operational on Saturday while five others were unable to submit their data, the DOH said. These seven laboratories contribute on average 0.1 percent of samples tested and 0.4 percent of positive cases, it added.
The intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization rate in Metro Manila and nationwide was at 29 percent and 26 percent, respectively.
The Philippines has yet to detect the Omicron variant, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
The DOH is still tracking eight travelers from South Africa who arrived in the country between Nov. 15 and 29, according to the DOH spokesperson.
Meantime, the genome sequencing result of one traveler from South Africa who tested positive for COVID-19 might be released by Wednesday, she added.
The DOH also advised candidates against holding campaign parties that may result in overcrowding.
"Kami po nanawagan ulit sa mga opisyales, sa ating mga kumakandidato sa dadating na election, wag po sana tayo mag-hold ng events na alam natin might cause overcrowding and this might cause infections in the coming days or weeks," she told reporters.
(We are again calling on officials and candidates not to hold events that we know might cause cause overcrowding and and in turn cause infections in the coming days or weeks.)
"Parating po ang Pasko ngayon, so sana mapanatili nating mababa ang mga kaso para naman po magkaroon tayo ng masayang Pasko para sa buong Pilipinas."
(Christmas is nearing so we hope we can keep our number of cases down so the whole country can have a happy Christmas.)