Daily COVID-19 case count in PH still 3rd highest in Western Pacific – WHO
MANILA, Philippines — Daily COVID-19 infections in the Philippines remain the third highest among 37 countries in the Western Pacific region, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In a presentation made at the opening of the 72nd session of the WHO Regional Committee in Japan, Dr. Babatunde Olowokure showed the COVID-19 situation in 10 countries with the most number of new cases as of Oct. 21.
Malaysia ranked first with 5,516 new cases, followed by Singapore with 3,862 new infections and the Philippines with 3,656.
The Philippine figure cited by the WHO was the official count of fresh cases reported by the Department of Health (DOH) for Oct. 20.
The DOH on Monday declared that the country was again at “low risk” for COVID-19, citing a 48-percent decline in new cases in the past two weeks compared to the previous two weeks.
Some still amid surge
But it cautioned against complacency in complying with health protocols, saying the Philippines was not yet out of the woods.
Other countries on the WHO list with the highest new daily cases were Vietnam (3,646 new cases), Australia (2,150), South Korea (1,441), Laos (635), Papua New Guinea (413), Japan (373) and Brunei (166).
But Olowokure stressed that only Australia, Brunei, Papua New Guinea and Singapore continue to be in the middle of a surge in COVID-19 infections.
“In our region, member-states quickly identified lessons, addressed challenges and saw reduction in case numbers. However, some countries are still experiencing a surge,’’ Olowokure, the WHO regional emergency director, said.
But he reminded the countries in the region to not let their guard down against surges and outbreaks.
“The virus is now present in most countries and well-entrenched. It is plausible that the virus will not disappear. We need to therefore anticipate continued surges and sporadic outbreaks,” Olowokure said.
More than 9.2 million people have been confirmed infected with COVID-19 in the Western Pacific, while about 126,000 people have died from the virus, Health
Secretary Francisco Duque III reported to the committee in his address as outgoing regional committee chair.
In August, the Philippines also ranked third on the list in the Western Pacific, after Malaysia and Japan, when the country was facing a surge in cases in Metro Manila and multiple provinces.
This prompted Malacañang to place the country under enhanced community quarantine, the strictest lockdown classification, from Aug. 6 to Aug. 20.
New COVID-19 infections in the Philippines slid for the fourth straight day, with 4,393 cases recorded on Tuesday.
The latest new case count pushed the total number of cases to 2,765,672. Active cases totaled 53,642, 81 percent of which have mild symptoms.
New recoveries rose to 8,470, bringing the total number of survivors to 2,669,953.
But the country’s death toll breached the 42,000 mark after 135 fatalities were added to the tally.
The positivity rate is also on a downward trend at 8.5 percent from the previous day’s 9 percent after 2,998 came out positive of the total 35,265 tests administered. WHO recommends a positivity rate of below 5 percent.
—KATHLEEN DE VILLA
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