MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines confirmed 883 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday bringing the country’s total to 469,886.
The Department of Health also reported 7,635 new recoveries pushing the total number of Filipinos who recovered from the disease to 438,678.
This meant that the country has a total of 22,099 active cases as of 4 p.m. Sunday.
Forty two more deaths were reported from the illness, bringing COVID-19’s death toll in the Philippines to 9,109.
The DOH said the decrease in cases over the holiday season was to be expected given the closure of many private laboratories and the decrease in patients seen by those who reaimed open.
"For December 25, 148 laboratories were open, 87 of which previously committed to DOH to remain open. Of these 148 labs, 34 reported seeing zero patients for the day, while the rest reported a decrease in their census."
While the number of new cases fell below a thousand today, the number of tests conducted also fell to less than half of previous days.
The number of tests on Dec. 25 (13,482) was the lowest since June 22 . The number of tests on December 26 (11,510 as of 12nn) was even lower.
The positivity rate, or the number of cases that turned positive out of the total number of tests, also rose to 6.6 percent, from 4.9 percent on Dece. 25.
Rizal province reported 66 new cases, the most for any province or city today. Quezon City reported 50 new cases, while Benguet had 47, Davao City had 42, and the City of Manila had 35.
A new strain of the novel coronavirus, which was first reported in the United Kingdom, has been spreading globally, with Singapore confirming its first case of the variant on Dec. 24, while Japan confirmed 5 cases from people who recently traveled to the UK.
The Philippines has already suspended travel from the UK until the end of the year because of the new variant.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque on Saturday said a recent traveler who flew in from the United Kingdom tested positive for COVID-19, but it did not mean he was carrying the new virus variant that was discovered there.
If the COVID-19 outbreak worsens because of the new variant, President Rodrigo Duterte said he may impose new lockdowns.
The government has said it is eyeing to use 4 COVID-19 vaccines from Russia and China by the first 3 months of 2021, even as the country has yet to receive emergency vaccine use applications for the drug.
The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, Covax, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax and Moderna are set to arrive in the third quarter, Malacanang has said.
The country’s first COVID-19 case was a 38-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan, China.
Worldwide, the novel coronavirus has infected over 80.3 million people and caused nearly 1.75 million deaths since it first emerged in Wuhan, China in late 2019 according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
The United States remains the most badly affected country with over 18.98 million infections and over 331,000 deaths.
India follows the US with over 10.18 million infections. Brazil ranks third with over 7.46 million infections but is second in terms of deaths with over 190,000 COVID-19 fatalities.