DoH: Philippines recorded 1,206 coronavirus infections in past week


THE PHILIPPINES posted 1,206 coronavirus infections in the past week, with a daily average of 172, health authorities said on Monday.

The average for Jan. 23 to 29 was 36% lower than a week earlier, the Department of Health (DoH) said in a bulletin. Of the new cases, only one was severe and critical.

DoH said it had verified 74 more deaths in the past week, six of which occurred on Jan. 16 to  29.

It added 330 of 2,359 intensive care unit (ICU) beds had been used as of Jan. 29, while 3,606 of 18,467 non-ICU beds were occupied. There were  456 severe and critical admissions.

The Health department said more than 73 million Filipinos or 94.54% of the target population had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, 21 million of whom received booster shots.

The positivity rate in the National Capital Region (NCR) fell to 2.3% on Jan. 28 after rising to 2.4% a day earlier, Fredegusto P. David, a fellow at the OCTA Research Group, tweeted.

“Hopefully, the positivity rate continues to trend downward,” he said. “We will continue to monitor the trends.”

Metro Manila posted the most coronavirus infections in the past two weeks at 858, followed by Calabarzon with 433, Western Visayas with 256, Central Luzon with 216 and the Davao region with 196, Mr. David tweeted on Sunday.

The World Health Organization has said the coronavirus would probably become an endemic disease like influenza as its movements become more predictable.

Meanwhile, the Philippines would get a donation of bivalent COVID-19 shots from vaccine-sharing facility COVAX, Health Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario S. Vergeire told ABS-CBN Teleradyo.

The vaccines, which will be more effective against new coronavirus variants, would probably arrive this quarter, she said.

She did not say how many shots were donated, noting that the agreement had yet to be finalized. Other countries have also pledged to donate bivalent COVID-19 shots to the Philippines, she said. 

DoH in December said it was in talks with Pfizer, Inc. and Moderna, Inc. for the purchase of bivalent coronavirus vaccines that target both the Omicron variant and the original coronavirus.

The agency had sought President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s permission to order bivalent vaccines.

The state of calamity in connection with the pandemic lapsed on Dec. 31 and the president had expressed apprehensions about extending it.

DoH could not buy more vaccines without the special authority, Ms. Vergeire said. The agency aims to have bivalent vaccines available this quarter. — JVDO