Philippines logs 1,791 new COVID-19 cases

MANILA (XINHUA) – The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines yesterday reported 1,791 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection, bringing the total number in the country to 416,852.

The DOH said 328 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 375,548. The death toll climbed to 8,080 after 55 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH added.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called for stronger cooperation on universal vaccine access at the virtual 27th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting late on Friday night.

Duterte called on APEC economies to strengthen partnerships and ensure the unimpeded flow of medical supplies and technologies and universal access to COVID-19 vaccines.

“We have to ensure the unimpeded flow of medical supplies and technologies, especially COVID-19 vaccines,” he said, adding, “it is folly to assume that there can be pockets of safe havens in the face of a global pandemic”.

A girl wearing a face mask has her temperature checked as she arrives for her flight at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City, the Philippines. PHOTO: XINHUA

Duterte stressed the need to “defeat the virus everywhere, or no one is safe”.

“To do this, we need to strengthen partnerships to make vaccines a global public good,” he added.

Noting APEC’s crucial role in promoting economic growth and prosperity in the Pacific Rim region over past decades, Duterte said that APEC will play a vital role in the region’s post-pandemic recovery efforts and in achieving sustained and inclusive growth.

“We aim for a comprehensive recovery with no one left behind. This can only be done through deeper engagement with the international community, especially with close partners in the Pacific Rim region,” Duterte said.

The Philippines has now allowed medical workers to work abroad after Duterte lifted the deployment ban. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said that up to 5,000 health workers are allowed for deployment each year.

The government imposed the deployment ban while the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. In September, the government lifted the ban on health workers with valid contracts as of August 31.