Philippines' inflation picks up to 4.2% in January as Covid-19 total reaches 535,521 on Saturday (Feb 6)

A health worker collects a saliva sample in a sealed package at a drive-thru coronavirus disease (Covid-19) saliva testing site, in Pasay city, Metro Manila, Philippines. - Reuters

MANILA, Feb 6 (Xinhua): Year-on-year headline inflation in the Philippines accelerated to 4.2 percent in January 2021, up from 3.5 per cent in December 2020, driven by increases in food and non-alcoholic beverages, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has announced.

"This is the highest inflation recorded since February 2019," PSA head Claire Dennis Mapa told a virtual press conference.

"The overall inflation was primarily pushed up by the higher annual increment of the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages at 6.2 percent during the month, from 4.8 percent in December 2020," he added.

Mapa said the higher annual increase in the indices of transport at 8.6 percent, and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services at 3.0 percent also contributed to the uptrend in inflation.

Excluding selected food and energy items, he said the core inflation picked up by 3.4 percent in January 2021.

Core inflation in December 2020 and in January 2020 was both registered at 3.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines reported on Saturday 1,941 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the South-East Asian country to 535,521.

The death toll climbed to 11,110 after 52 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said. It added that 234 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 488,465.

The DOH said there is no community transmission of the more transmissible variant of the virus in the Philippines following the discovery of more cases in the country.

"We do not have strong evidence yet to conclude that there is community transmission," the DOH said in a statement on Saturday.

The Philippines on Friday confirmed an additional eight patients who had tested positive for the more contagious coronavirus variant first found in Britain, bringing the total of the new strain cases in the country to 25.

The Philippines, which has about 110 million population, has tested over 7.55 million people altogether. - Xinhua
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