Philippines logs 24,938 new COVID-19 cases

Manila [Philippines] (ANI/Xinhua): The Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) reported 24,938 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, raising the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 3,442,056.
The DOH said the number of active cases dropped to 262,997, as the country’s positivity rate also dipped to 40.6 percent. The DOH added that 47 more people died from COVID-19 complications, pushing the country’s death toll to 53,519.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the Omicron variant-fueled COVID-19 surge in Metro Manila has peaked.
“We see that cases in Metro Manila have been decreasing for the past few days, accounting for a smaller percentage of the total cases,” Duque told a virtual press conference.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire echoed Duque’s statement. “It looks like we have reached the highest number of cases in Metro Manila, and slowly cases are going down,” she said, adding that infections in regions outside the national capital region continue to rise.
Many Filipinos who contracted the virus have opted to get the less expensive rapid antigen tests, indicating that the actual number is likely to be higher than the reported as antigen tests are not included in the reported cases.
The Philippines is grappling with an Omicron-driven COVID-19 surge, the fourth wave the country has seen since the outbreak in 2020.
The country reported the highest single-day tally on January 15, with 39,004 new cases. (Image source: Instagram)

Philippines logs 30,552 new COVID-19 cases

Manila [Philippines] (ANI/Xinhua): The Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) reported 30,552 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday, raising the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 3,387,524.
The number of active cases decreased to 280,619 from a record of 291,618 on Friday. The country’s positivity rate rose further to 45.1 per cent from 44 per cent the previous day. The DOH said 97 more people died from COVID-19 complications, pushing the country’s death toll to 53,406.
The Philippines is grappling with the fourth wave of infections amid the fast-spreading Omicron variant. The country reported the highest single-day tally on January 15 with 39,004 new cases.
The country, which has around 110 million population, has tested so far more than 24 million people. (Image source: Instagram)

Philippines logs 37,154 new COVID-19 cases

Manila [Philippines] (ANI/Xinhua): The Philippines reported 37,154 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the total tally to 3,205,396.
The Department of Health (DOH) said the number of active cases soared to an all-time high of 287,856, and the coronavirus positivity rate rose to 47.4 percent for testings nationwide. The DOH said 50 more people died from COVID-19 complications, bringing the total death toll to 52,907. Twelve laboratories failed to submit data on Sunday.
The COVID-19 cases have surged to record highs this month in the Southeast Asian country. Authorities attributed the fourth wave of infections to high mobility, poor compliance with health protocols, and fast spreading of the Omicron and Delta variants of COVID-19.
The daily COVID-19 cases hit a record of 39,004 on Saturday in the country. The Philippines, which has around 110 million population, has tested more than 24 million people for COVID-19 since the pandemic in the country. (Image source: Unsplash)

New COVID-19 cases in Philippines hit record high, death toll crosses 52,000

Manila [Philippines]: The Philippines reported a record high 26,458 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, pushing the total number of the confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 29,36,875.
The country’s Department of Health (DOH) said that the number of active cases or patients still battling the disease soared to 1,02,017 as the positivity rate soared to 43.7 percent. Saturday’s case count surpassed the 26,303 cases tallied on September 11, 2021, while the country was battling the third wave of infections.
Experts said suspected cases of Omicron are fueling surges in communities and further straining the hospitals’ capacity to cope with the continuing pandemic.
The DOH said that 265 more people died from COVID-19 complications, bringing the country’s death toll to 52,135. The reported deaths include those who died in the previous months.
“With the enormous number of people being positive with the just short duration of time and most of them are manifesting upper respiratory track symptoms, then I would say there is already community transmission of Omicron variant,” infectious diseases specialist Rontgene Solante told a televised press conference on Saturday.
Indeed, Solante said the government hospitals “are seeing increasing numbers” of COVID-19 patients daily, including the severe and critical cases.
Jonas del Rosario, the spokesperson for the Philippine General Hospital, echoed Solante’s assessment, saying the government-owned hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) has reached full capacity.
“Our ICU right now is full. The ICU ends for COVID-19 patients are 100 percent occupied,” he told a televised press conference, adding the hospital is converting its non-COVID wards to meet the rising demand for COVID-19 beds.
Experts and health authorities warned that cases will continue rising in the coming days. “It will be very scary for the next few weeks,” molecular biologist Nicanor Austriaco of the OCTA Research Group said.
Authorities stressed the need to stay at home if only experiencing mild symptoms and reserve the hospitals for critically-ill COVID-19 patients.
“This is really the important part; the key critical protection that we must do at this time is we must protect our hospitals and our health care workers,” Austriaco added.

At least 50 still missing after Typhoon Rai in Philippines, death toll at 208

Manila [Philippines]: The total death toll from Typhoon Rai (also known as Odette), which made landfall in the Philippines last week, has gone up to 208, while over 50 people remain missing, Philippine media report.
Most of the fatalities have been reported in the Central Visayas region (129 dead), followed by Western Visayas with 22 deaths, The Manila Bulletin said on Sunday, citing Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Col. Rhoderick Augustus Alba. According to the newspaper, typhoon-related deaths have also been reported in the Philippine regions of Caraga (10), Northern Mindanao (7) and Zamboanga (1).
In the early hours of Monday, The Manila Bulletin said that Philippine police have raised the typhoon death toll to 208. The number of injured stands at 239, while at least 52 people remain missing.
More than 180,800 people are still displaced and power outages have been reported in over 3,000 different areas in the Philippines.
According to the country’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), more than 332,000 people had to be evacuated after Rai hit the Philippines on December 16. NDRRMC has reported 31 fatalities but only four of them were confirmed to be typhoon-related.

Mass evacuation begins in Philippines as super typhoon Rai approaches

Manila [Philippines]: Tens of thousands of people residing in the central and southern Philippines are being evacuated as typhoon Rai approaches the country, a media report said.
Typhoon Rai is undergoing “rapid intensification” as it barrels towards the island province of Dinagat and Surigao provinces in the mid-eastern section of the country as of 0500 GMT, reported Al Jazeera citing the latest report from the Philippine weather bureau, PAGASA. Rai — which is the 50th typhoon to hit the country this year — has been declared as a super typhoon by the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC).
PAGASA has advised sailors to remain in port or to take shelter emphasising that the sea conditions are risky for all types of vessels.
The wind speed has accelerated to 185 km (115 miles) per hour near the centre with gustiness of up to 230 km (143 miles) per hour, moving west-northwest as of 0200 GMT, PAGASA said earlier.
Eight regions in the Philippines have been placed on the highest level in emergency preparedness and response protocol, according to the national disaster mitigation agency, NDRRMC.
More than 30 million people reside in these eight regions, which are located in the central and southern group of islands in the Visayas and Mindanao areas, according to Al Jazeera.

Philippines imposes travel ban on seven more countries over Omicron variant

Manila [Philippines]: The Philippines on Sunday imposed travel restrictions on seven European countries to keep out the potentially more contagious new coronavirus variant Omicron, a government spokesman said on Sunday.
Cabinet Secretary and acting Presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles said Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy are placed under the “red list” effective from Sunday until December 15. The Philippines has flagged 14 countries and regions with reported Omicron cases so far. On Friday, it also suspended flights from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique.
“Inbound international travel of all persons, regardless of vaccination status, coming from or who have been to red list countries or jurisdictions or territories within the last 14 days prior to arrival to any port of the Philippines shall not be allowed,” Nograles said in a statement.
He said only Filipinos returning via government-initiated or non-government-initiated repatriation may be allowed entry subject to the prevailing entry, testing, and quarantine protocols for high-risk countries or regions.
Nograles said passengers already in transit and all those who have been to the seven European countries within 14 days immediately preceding arrival to the Philippines and arriving before 1:00 a.m. local time of Nov. 30 shall be allowed entry.
These travellers must undergo facility-based quarantine for 14 days with testing on the seventh day, regardless of a negative RT-PCR swab result.
On the other hand, Nograles said passengers who have already arrived before Sunday are currently undergoing quarantine according to the classifications of their country of origin and their respective testing and quarantine protocols.
Travellers, whether Filipinos or foreign, that merely transited through the flagged countries and stayed at the airport the whole time will be allowed to enter but must comply with existing testing and quarantine protocol.
The government also suspended the entry of fully vaccinated nationals or tourists coming from low-risk, non-visa-required countries or regions.
With the emergence of Omicron, the Philippines vowed to strengthen the local COVID-19 response to tackle the new variant.
The government urged the local government units to heighten their alert for increasing and clustering of cases and to emphasize the need for active case finding.
It also required local authorities to immediately conduct contact tracing and isolation of cases detected from case surveillance among the community, including domestic and international travelers, and to use RT-PCR testing to allow for whole-genome sequencing of collected samples.
The Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) reported 838 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday, pushing the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 2,831,807.
The country has recorded fewer than 1,000 daily cases for five straight days, and 156 more people have died from COVID-19 complications, bringing the country’s death toll to 48,361.

US extends support to Philippines amid China’s ‘expansive, unlawful’ maritime claims

Washington [US]: Highlighting that the US stands with the Philippines amid the latter’s standoff with China, the Biden administration said that it believes that Beijing actions asserting its “expansive and unlawful” South China Sea maritime claims undermine peace and security in the region.
“The United States stands with our ally, the Philippines, in the face of this escalation that directly threatens regional peace and stability, escalates regional tensions, infringes upon freedom of navigation in the South China Sea as guaranteed under international law, and undermines the rules-based international order,” Sputnik quoted State Department spokesperson Ned Price as saying. According to Price, Washington “strongly believes that PRC actions asserting its expansive and unlawful South China Sea maritime claims undermine peace and security in the region.”
Three Chinese coastguard ships blocked and first water cannons on two Philippines supply boats within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the disputed South China Sea.
Philippines Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin said the incident took place near Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) on November 16 and the Philippine vessels.
“The acts of the Chinese coast guard vessels are illegal,” Locsin said in a statement shared on social media by the Foreign Ministry. “China has no law enforcement rights in and around these areas. They must take heed and back off.”
China claims nearly the entire South China Sea based on its so-called ‘nine-dash line’ that the international court ruled without merit five years ago.
It is not the first incident this year when tensions have escalated between the two countries
Earlier this year, the Philippines complained about the weeks-long presence of dozens of vessels from China’s so-called ‘maritime militia’ at Whitsun Reef, which lies about 320 kilometers (175 nautical miles) west of Palawan Island within its EEZ.

Philippines approves China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine as booster shots

Manila [Philippines]: The Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of China’s Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine and three other brands as booster shots against the COVID-19, FDA Director General Enrique Domingo said Tuesday.

During a pre-recorded meeting aired on Tuesday, Domingo said the FDA has already amended the emergency use authorization of Sinovac, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sputnik Light, “meaning six months after the second dose, another can be administered.”
The Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) said that all fully vaccinated healthcare workers could get the booster doses starting on Wednesday, as well as people with underlying health conditions and the elderly with comorbidities.

To date, the Philippines has received almost 125 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from different vaccine makers. China, the biggest supplier of COVID-19 vaccines, was the first country to provide vaccines to the Philippines, allowing the Southeast Asian country to kick off its vaccination drive on March 1.

The Philippines has administered nearly 71 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. More than 31.8 million people have been fully vaccinated. The government aims to vaccinate up to 70 per cent of its 110 million population this year.

As of Tuesday, the country has reported a total of nearly 2.82 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 45,808 deaths. (ANI/Xinhua)

Philippines’ Travel Bubble With South Korea To Revive Its Pandemic-Hit Tourism

The Philippines is banking on its returning citizens and a planned travel bubble with South Korea to revive its pandemic-hit tourism sector, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said on Thursday, as the Southeast Asian country remains closed to visitors.

It is in talks with its top market South Korea to welcome tourists on board chartered flights, Puyat said in an interview with Bloomberg TV’s David Ingles. The two countries are ironing out quarantine requirements for these tourists upon return to South Korea, she said.

The Philippines also plans to further ease quarantine rules for returning citizens who can also help boost domestic travel, Puyat said. Domestic tourism, which has driven the sector even pre-pandemic, has shown signs of revival, with travellers from the capital now visiting tourist spots as movement curbs are eased and vaccines are rolled out, she said.

Lagging its neighbours in easing travel curbs, the Philippines remained at the bottom of Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking last month as infections declined across the region. Thailand and Indonesia have reopened tourist spots to foreign visitors, while Malaysia and Singapore will soon allow quarantine-free entry for the fully-vaccinated. 

Philippines logs 2,656 new COVID-19 cases

Manila [Philippines] : The Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) reported 2,656 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday, pushing the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 2,800,621.
The DOH also reported that 154 more people died from COVID-19 complications, bringing the country’s death toll to 42,239. Eight laboratories failed to submit data. The number of deaths reported in the daily bulletin includes deaths from previous months, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told a virtual news conference Saturday.
She said the country now tallies an average of dozens of deaths daily from a peak of 193 in September. In October, the average number of deaths per day was 73.
Of the 154 deaths reported on Saturday, 118 were previously tagged as recoveries and reclassified as deaths after final validation, the DOH said.
The country has battled three waves of infections since the outbreak last year. The last wave peaked in September when the DOH reported its highest daily tally on Sept. 11 with 26,303 cases.
The Philippines, which has a population of around 110 million, has tested more than 21.5 million people since the pandemic.

Philippines logs 6,913 new COVID-19 cases, total rises to 2,720,368

Manila [Philippines] : The Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) reported 6,913 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the total tally to 2,720,368.
The DOH also reported that 95 more people died from COVID-19 complications in the country, bringing the overall death toll to 40,675. The Southeast Asian country has recorded a daily rise of fewer than 8,000 cases since Wednesday, while people were urged to remain vigilant against the coronavirus to prevent a new wave of infections. The DOH reported the highest ever daily tally on September 11, at 26,303 cases.
The Philippines, which has around 110 million population, has tested more than 20.5 million people for COVID-19 since the outbreak in January 2020.

Typhoon Kompasu ravaged Philippines, 19 dead, 13 missing

Luzon [Philippines], October 14 : At least 19 people were killed and 13 others went missing as a result of typhoon Kompasu, also known as Maring in the Philippines, which had ravaged the country’s northern island of Luzon this week, local media reported on Thursday citing the national emergency services.
As a result of the typhoon, 325 houses were damaged, with 89 of them destroyed beyond repair, CNN Philippines said, citing the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. The typhoon affected a total of 50,040 households, or 1,94,677 individuals, the news added. The authorities are further checking reports about 11 other deaths in the provinces of Cagayan and Benguet, as well as the information about three injured people and one missing in Benguet.
The typhoon left the territory of the Philippines, but the authorities have warned of the threat of continued heavy rains. More than 10,000 people were evacuated.
Typhoon Kompasu moved to Hong Kong, where it left one person dead and another sixteen injured, before heading off to the Chinese island of Hainan.

Death toll from a tropical storm in Philippines rises to 13, 9 missing

The death toll from the severe tropical storm Kompasu has risen to 13 and that nine people are missing, the Philippine government said Wednesday.

Manila [Philippines], October 13 : The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said that most victims died from landslides and flooding in the northern Philippine regions and Palawan, an archipelagic province located off Luzon island. The tropical storm, which exited the Philippines on Tuesday, triggered flash floods and landslides. Nearly 2,000 people were evacuated to safety.
The damage was heaviest in the northern Philippine regions, the agency said. Damage to agriculture there was estimated at USD 9.7 million.
Tropical storm Kompasu, which made landfall on Monday, is the 13th tropical cyclone to lash the Philippines this year.
Typhoons and tropical storms regularly batter the Philippine archipelago, which straddles the typhoon belt in the western Pacific Ocean, claiming hundreds of lives and cause billions of dollars in damages.
Approximately 20 typhoons enter the Southeast Asian country each year. Of the islands that make up the Philippines, northern Luzon and the eastern Visayas in the central Philippines are most commonly affected.

Philippine Vice President Robredo to run in 2022 elections for President

Manila [Philippine] : Philippine Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo announced on Thursday that she will run in May 2022 elections, for president in the Southeast Asian country.
Robredo, 56, said in an online announcement, “I will fight. We will fight. I am running for president in the 2022 elections,” The opposition coalition 1Sambayan endorsed Robredo to be its presidential candidate.
Robredo had delayed her announcement after trying to forge a united opposition slate with other presidential contenders, but her efforts failed.
Robredo is expected to file her certificate of candidacy before Friday, the deadline for the week-long submission of certificates of candidacy for politicians who plan to run in next year’s elections.

Philippines’ COVID-19 cases tops 2 million as Delta virus spreads

Manila [Philippines], September 1 ( The Philippines crossed a grim milestone as COVID-19 caseload topped 2 million on Wednesday.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the Southeast Asian country surged to 2,003,955 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 14,216 new daily infections on Wednesday. The DOH also reported 86 coronavirus-related deaths, raising the country’s death toll to 33,533.
“The relatively low number of cases today is due to lower laboratory output last Monday,” the DOH said in a statement, adding that five laboratories failed to submit the data.
On Monday, the Philippines posted the highest single-day spike of 22,366 since the outbreak in January 2020.
The DOH said the community transmission of the highly contagious Delta variant will further drive up the number of infections in the country. In an online briefing on Tuesday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH expects the cases to peak by the middle of this month.
The Philippines, which has a population of around 110 million, has tested over 17.5 million people.

Military Plane Crash In Philippines Kills 50 And Injure 49

The death toll in the crash of a transport aircraft in Philippines has reached 50, with 49 others injured, officials said Monday. According to the details, the Lockheed C-130 Hercules was carrying 96 mostly combat troops when it overshot the runway while landing Sunday at the Jolo airport in Sulu province. It slammed into a coconut grove beyond the airport and burst into flames in a noontime disaster witnessed by horrified soldiers and villagers.

Troops, police and firefighters rescued 49 military personnel, including a few who jumped off the aircraft before it exploded and was gutted by fire. Seven people on the ground were hit by aircraft parts and debris, and three of them died, the military said.

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules was one of two refurbished US Air Force aircraft handed over to the Philippines, Washington’s oldest treaty ally in Asia, as part of military assistance this year.

The aircraft earlier had carried two-star Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., his wife and three children from Manila to southern Cagayan de Oro city, where he’s set to become the new military regional commander on Monday.

Those who boarded the C-130 in Cagayan de Oro for the flight to Sulu were army troops, many of them newly trained recruits, to be deployed in the battle against Abu Sayyaf militants in the south.

Brawner was stunned to learn the plane he’d just flown on had crashed. “We’re very thankful that we were spared but extremely sad that so many lost their lives,” Brawner told The Associated Press.

A video taken by troops showed the aircraft landing in clear weather then vanishing beyond the airport. “It vanished, it vanished,” one soldier exclaims. Dark gray smoke later billowed from the crash site in a wooded area as the troops, yell, “It fell, it fell” and let off curses in horror.

“They were supposed to join us in our fight against terrorism,” Sulu military commander Maj. Gen. William Gonzales said. Government forces have been battling Abu Sayyaf militants in the predominantly Muslim province of Sulu for decades.

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash and investigators were looking for the C-130’s black boxes containing the cockpit voice and flight data recorders.

Regional military commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan said it was unlikely that the aircraft took hostile fire. Military chief of staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejana told reporters Sunday that “the plane missed the runway and it was trying to regain power but failed and crashed.”

An air force official told The AP that the Jolo runway is shorter than most others in the country, making it more difficult for pilots to adjust if an aircraft misses the landing spot. The official, who has flown military aircraft to and from Jolo several times, spoke on condition of anonymity because of a lack of authority to speak publicly.

President Rodrigo Duterte expanded the military presence in Sulu to a full division in late 2018, deploying hundreds of additional troops, air force aircraft and other combat equipment after vowing to wipe out Abu Sayyaf. The small but brutal group has been blacklisted by the U.S. and the Philippines as a terrorist organization for ransom kidnappings, bombings and beheadings.

Before Sunday, the Philippine air force’s deadliest disaster was a crash in a rice field north of Manila in 1971 that killed 40 military personnel, military historian Jose Custodio said.

A recently delivered S-701 Blackhawk helicopter crashed more than a week ago near Clark freeport, a former U.S. airbase, killing all six air force personnel on board.

The Philippine government has struggled for years to modernize its military, one of Asia’s least equipped, as it dealt with decades-long Muslim and communist insurgencies and territorial rifts with China and other claimant countries in the South China Sea.

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