Manila, Jan 5 (IANS) The Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) reported 10,775 new Covid-19 infections on Wednesday, pushing the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 2,871,745.
The DOH also reported that 58 more people died from Covid complications, bringing the country’s death toll to 51,662. The positivity rate jumped to 31.7 per cent, the highest ever since the outbreak in 2020.
With the most number of new and active cases, Metro Manila continues to be the epicenter of the pandemic and is now at “critical risk,” Xinhua reported citing Health Secretary Francisco Duque.
Duque said the number of Covid cases in the capital region has recorded a 1,475-per cent two-week growth rate.
“Metro Manila saw the steepest rise in the number of cases. The capital region is at critical risk case, the highest risk classification,” Duque said, adding the two regions adjacent to Metro Manila also registered a 557-per cent two-week growth rate.
Citing the DOH data, Guido David of the OCTA Research Group said that the reproduction number in Metro Manila is about five and the seven-day average positivity rate is “at a critical level of 25 per cent.” A high test positivity rate shows a high level of community transmission.
Several cabinet members failed to physically attend a meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday because of their exposure to the virus. Some offices shut down temporarily due to a steep rise in infections among staff. Many local officials have also tested positive for the virus.
To curb the spread of the virus, the government banned mass gatherings and barred unvaccinated people in Metro Manila from going to public places.
Meanwhile, Duterte has ordered the deployment of police officers in quarantine facilities amid reports that some people are violating isolation protocols to be with families and friends.
The country has grappled with three waves of infections. The DOH reported its highest caseload on Sept. 11, 2021, with 26,303 cases.
The Philippines, which has a population of around 110 million, has tested more than 23.5 million people since the outbreak.