Philippines adds 886 new COVID-19 cases as total hits 471,526

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Philippines adds 886 new COVID-19 cases as total hits 471,526
Policemen wearing face masks and shields as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus, stand guard at a check point in an almost empty road on the eve of Christmas, in Manila on December 24, 2020.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — The total number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines has gone beyond 471,000 two days before the year ends after the Department of Health recorded 886 new infections.

Tuesday’s additional cases pushed the country’s caseload to 471,526, of which 5% are people undergoing treatment and quarantine.

Davao City reported the highest daily increase with 61 cases. It was followed by Pampanga with 58, Bulacan with 45, Quezon City with 45and Cavite with 37.

The country saw a decline in cases due to the temporary halt in the operations of testing laboratories on Sunday, the DOH said. On December 27, only 158 out of 198 laboratories were able to submit their reports, while 38 testing centers declared no operations on that day. 

Total recoveries also increased to 439,016 after 253 more people recovered from COVID-19.

But 38 more people succumbed to the respiratory illness, taking the death toll to 9,162.

Metro Manila, 9 other areas under GCQ

Residents of Metro Manila will welcome the new year under lockdown after President Rodrigo Duterte extended the general community quarantine status of the nation’s COVID-19 epicenter to another month.

Others areas that will be under GCQ until January 31 include Davao City, Tacloban City, Santiago City, lligan City, Iloilo City, Isabela, Batangas, Lanao del Sur and Davao del Norte.

The rest of the country, meanwhile, will be under the more lenient modified GCQ.

The decision came amid as authorities fear a post-holiday surge in infections and monitor a new variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, which is believed to be more infectious.

Government officials confirmed Monday that members of the Presidential Security Group and at least one Cabinet official have received COVID-19 jabs despite no regulatory approval. The move also contradicts the government's announcement that medical frontliners will be the first people in the country to be inoculated 

The Philippines is in talks with several drugmakers including United Kingdom's Astrazeneca, US firm Pfizer and Moderna, China's Sinovac and Sinopharm and Russia's Gamaleya to secure vaccine doses to help end Southeast Asia's second-worst outbreak. 

Only Pfizer has so far applied for emergency use authorization for its vaccine in the country. 

Globally, the new coronavirus has infected 81.2 million individuals, with over 1.77 million deaths.

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