Philippines logs 7,625 new Covid-19 cases, total tops 2.7 million as country looks at reopening again

Krystle Gyle Fernandez, 17, and Krystle Ghyne Fernandez, 15, show their adhesive bandage after being inoculated with Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid19), during the vaccine rollout for children with comorbidities, in Pasig, Metro Manila, Philippines, October 15, 2021. - Reuters

MANILA, Oct. 15 (Xinhua/AFP): The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported 7,625 new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) infections on Friday, pushing the number of confirmed cases in the South-East Asian country to 2,705,792.

The DOH also reported that 203 more people died from Covid-19 complications, bringing the country's death toll to 40,424.

The department reported its highest ever daily tally on Sept. 11, with 26,303 cases.

The Philippines, which has an around 110 million population, has tested more than 20.5 million people since the outbreak in January 2020.

On Friday, the Philippines kicked off the coronavirus inoculation of minors aged 12 to 17 with underlying medical conditions.

The Philippines has administered over 50 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines. More than 23.7 million people have been fully vaccinated.

The government aims to vaccinate up to 77 million people this year.

The Philippines also has decided to allow cinemas and gyms to reopen in the capital Manila, an official confirmed on Thursday night (Oct 15), after a sharp fall in the daily number of coronavirus infections and increased vaccinations.

Restrictions have been eased in recent weeks as the government shifts its focus to getting people back to work and easing the economic misery caused by hard lockdowns.

"We must pay attention to job creation at this time," presidential spokesman Harry Roque told a news conference.

Cinemas and gyms, which have been closed for most of the pandemic, will be allowed to resume limited operations on Saturday for fully vaccinated people.

Maximum allowed capacities for restaurants, churches and beauty salons were raised to 30 percent, as the metropolis was lowered to the third-highest alert level.

Nearly 80 per cent of the adult population in the capital has been fully vaccinated, compared with just over 30 percent for the entire country, according to official data.

Nationwide virus cases hit a record high of 26,303 on September 11, fuelled by the hyper-contagious Delta variant, but for the past four days have fallen below 9,000.

Hospital bed occupancy rates in Covid-19 wards and intensive care units have dropped to below 60 percent, data showed. - Xinhua

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