PH COVID positivity rate down to 1.7%
The country’s COVID-19 positivity rate further dropped to 1.7 percent as the Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday reported 564 new infections, bringing the nationwide total to 2,833,473 since the start of the pandemic.
Thursday’s positivity rate was based on test results of samples from 34,918 individuals on Nov. 30. It was lower than Wednesday’s 2.1 percent and remained within the positivity target rate of below 5 percent of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Based on the Dec. 2 DOH case bulletin, the country’s active case count was 15,188, which was slightly lower than Wednesday’s 15,327 active tally.
The latest figures however, did not include data from two laboratories that were not operational on Nov. 30, and three other laboratories that failed to submit data to the COVID-19 Document Repository System.
Of the active cases, 7,126 are mild, 3,817 are moderate, 715 are asymptomatic, 2,463 are severe, and 1,067 are in critical condition.
The active cases account for 0.5 percent of the COVID-19 cases in the country.
There were also 694 people who recovered from the respiratory illness, bringing the total number of recoveries to 2,769,533.The death toll climbed to 48,752 with 40 new fatalities.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH was still awaiting updates from the WHO regarding the Omicron variant that is spreading in some countries in Europe, the United States as well as Hong Kong.
“We’re still waiting for updates regarding the characteristics of this variant. As we know it has a lot of mutations which can affect its transmissibility as well as vaccine efficacy. But up to now we still do not have any completed evidences yet,” she said in a television interview.
“But while we wait, we’re getting ourselves ready by imposing stricter border controls,” she added.
Travelers from South Africa
Vergeire earlier said the country had yet to detect a case of the Omicron variant.
Three travelers from South Africa who are currently quarantined in Negros Occidental were fully vaccinated and did not show any symptoms of COVID-19, the DOH said Thursday.
The three expatriates and one returning overseas Filipino worker who arrived in Negros Occidental from South Africa last week tested negative for COVID-19, Mayor Jose Maria Alonso of Pontevedra town said on Thursday.
“We received the test results and it turned out negative,” he said.
The three South African expatriates worked as consultants of a power firm, BioPower, operating in Negros Occidental. Two have been quarantined in Calatrava town and another in La Carlota City in separate houses rented by the company following their arrival in the province.
Negros Occidental Provincial Administrator Rayfranado Diaz said the two foreigners arrived in Negros Occidental on Nov. 25 while the other one on Nov. 26, a day before the ban on travelers from South Africa was imposed.
7 monitored in Manila
Seven other Negrense travelers from South Africa were currently isolated by the Bureau of Quarantine in Manila to make sure they were not carriers of the Omicron variant.
Vergeire said contact tracing was being done for the 64 Filipinos who recently came from “red list” countries. They are currently staying in quarantine facilities.
The DOH official said all incoming travelers who will test positive for COVID-19 are being subjected to genome sequencing.
The biosurveillance capacity of Philippine Genome Center has doubled and can immediately perform sequencing and issue results in 24 to 34 hours, she said.
WHO Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe earlier urged the Philippine government to widen its biosurveillance of incoming travelers, regardless of their nationality or country of origin.
The government has placed on the “Red List” a total of 14 countries, where the Omicron variant have been detected. These are South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and Italy.
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