MANILA (UPDATE) - The Department of Health on Tuesday reported 168 fresh COVID-19 cases, the lowest daily tally so far this year, as 20 laboratories failed to submit their data.
Of the newly announced cases, 159 occurred within the recent 14 days, while Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Western Visayas were the top regions with most cases in the recent two weeks, the DOH said.
The number of fresh cases is the lowest not only this year but also since May 22 last year, when 163 additional infections were reported, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group, citing DOH data adjusted for duplicate cases.
This is also the first time since May 23 last year that the daily tally fell below 200, it added.
A total of 2,837,719 cases have been confirmed since the coronavirus reached the Philippines last year, of which 9,384 or 0.3 percent remain active infections, based on the latest case bulletin.
The number of active cases is the lowest since May 20 last year, when there were 9,364 announced, the research group said.
COVID-related deaths increased by 10 to 50,794 fatalities. Of the additional cases, six occurred this month, two in November, one in August, and one in May last year, the DOH said, citing late encoding of death information.
This is the third straight day that deaths remained below 100 and it is the lowest tally in two months or since October 20, when five deaths were originally announced by the DOH, according to the ABS-CBN IRG.
There were 372 more recoveries, raising the total number of recuperations to 2,777,541.
The DOH said 179 cases, classified as recoveries, were found to have tested negative and have been removed from the total case count, while 6 cases previously tagged as recuperations were reclassified as deaths after final validation.
The positivity rate was at 0.9 percent, based on test results of samples from 22,964 individuals on Dec. 19, Sunday. The positivity rate is below 1 percent for the fourth straight day, said ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team head Edson Guido.
Four laboratories were non-operational on Sunday, while 20 others were unable to submit their data, the DOH said. These 24 laboratories contribute on average 4.8 percent of samples tested and 4.5 percent of positive cases, it added.
The intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization rate in Metro Manila and nationwide was at 21 percent and 22 percent, respectively.
Some 3.76 million more jabs have been administered as the Philippines held its second run of "National Vaccination Days," Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said.
The nationwide vaccination drive will be extended until next week following Typhoon Odette's destruction in the Visayas and Mindanao, she said.
The Philippines has so far fully vaccinated 43.5 million out of its target of 54 million before yearend.
Some 56.3 million others have received an initial dose while 1.15 million additional doses or booster shots have been administered as of Sunday, according to data gathered by the ABS-CBN IRG.