Philippines logs 37,207 new COVID-19 cases, highest since outbreak

MANILA (XINHUA) – The Philippines reported 37,207 new COVID-19 infections yesterday, the highest one-day case count since the outbreak, pushing the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 3,129,512.

The Department of Health (DOH) said that the number of active cases soared to 265,509. The positivity rate slightly dipped to 47.3 per cent from the record 47.9 per cent the previous day.

The DOH said that 81 more people died from COVID-19 complications, bringing the country’s death toll to 52,815. Eight laboratories failed to submit data yesterday.

With surging infections, the government reimposed restrictions in Metro Manila, its adjacent provinces, and several provinces with high virus clusters across the country to force people, particularly the unvaccinated, to stay at home.

The national police said at least 372 areas in Metro Manila and Luzon island are under hard lockdown. Police and local officials impose granular lockdowns on houses, streets, or buildings with virus clusters.

People getting inoculated at the Marikina Sports Centre in Marikina City, the Philippines. PHOTO: XINHUA

Metro Manila, the region with the most active and new cases, will remain under alert level 3 on a scale of 5 until January 31, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a virtual press conference yesterday.

Nograles said there is no need to raise the alert level for now, adding that bed and intensive care unit utilisation rates are still relatively low despite record level daily case counts.

“We are closely monitoring the situation in Metro Manila. If the bed utilisation rate hits 71 per cent, then it would be the right time to elevate to alert level 4,” he said, adding the government is trying to manage the situation to prevent raising to the second-highest alert level.

Meanwhile, the government has eased the travel restrictions for returning Filipinos.

Under the new rule, travellers from the so-called “red list” countries and regions can even enter through regular flights from January 16 to 31.