Philippines logs 6,686 new Covid-19 cases, total tops 1.3 million; cases also increasing in southern country

A cyclist carries his friend wearing a protective face mask, amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, in Manila, Philippines, on Friday (June 11, 2021). - Reuters

MANILA, June 11 (Xinhua): The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported on Friday 6,686 new Covid-19 infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the South-East Asian country to 1,300,349.

The death toll climbed to 22,507 after 196 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said.

The Philippines, which has more than 110 million population, has tested more than 13 million people since the outbreak in January 2020.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the number of coronavirus cases spiked in the past weeks.

"We saw a faster increase in cases in the central Philippines and the southern Philippines," she said in an online briefing.

In Metro Manila, she said the decline has slowed down. Metro Manila contributes an average of up to 12 per cent to the total daily cases, while the Mindanao region in the southern Philippines contributes 30 per cent.

"In Metro Manila, we can say it (the transmission) is coming from the communities," she said, adding that in other areas virus clusters are found in workplaces.

Vergeire said the government needs to break the chain of transmission fuelled by people's non-compliance with health protocols and the four highly infectious variants in the country.

"If we look at the spread of the Covid-19, we already detected four types of variants in different regions of the country. And we can say, based on evidence, that these variants increase the transmissibility of the virus, that is why we see a faster increase of cases," she added.

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the inter-agency coronavirus task force has decided to ease the lockdown restrictions in Metro Manila and nearby areas, allowing the gyms and indoor non-contact sports venues to reopen at limited capacity.

However, Roque said only gyms, fitness studios, skating ricks, and racket sports with safety seal certifications are allowed.

Roque said the task force also allowed historical sites and museums to open at limited capacity "following health and safety protocols and the approval of the local government unit where these sites may be situated."

"Guided tours in these historical sites and museums, however, remain prohibited," Roque added.

Roque said the task force also allowed fully vaccinated senior citizens to go out of their homes as long as they present Covid-19 vaccination cards and observe minimum health standards.

"The movement of fully vaccinated senior is, however, limited to travel within their zone as interzonal travel is still prohibited, except for point-to-point travel that was previously allowed," Roque said.

The government previously prohibited those over 65 years old from going outside for non-essential trips because of their vulnerability. Enditem
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