Philippines logs 838 new Covid-19 cases, 156 more deaths on Sunday (Nov 29); DOH prepares country against new Covid-19 variant

A health worker inoculates a colleague with a booster shot of Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine as the government begins to provide them to front-liners, at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines. - Reuters

MANILA, Nov 28 (Xinhua): The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported 838 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday, pushing the number of confirmed cases in the South-East Asian country to 2,831,807.

Less than 1,000 daily cases have been reported for five straight days. The DOH also reported that 156 more people died from COVID-19 complications, bringing the death toll to 48,361.

The Philippines is bracing for the emergence of a potentially more contagious new coronavirus Omicron variant that was first identified in South Africa.

In a statement, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the government is working to ensure the timely adoption of preemptive measures to tackle new coronavirus variants.

The Philippines suspended flights from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique on Friday from till Dec. 15.

Carlito Galvez, the chief implementer of the government's measures to combat Covid-19, said the emergence of the Omicron variant will pose a significant challenge to the country's ongoing fight against Covid-19.

In a virtual press conference, he hinted at the possibility of retaining the coronavirus alert level and postponing plans to further ease the measures during the holiday season.

The Philippines has battled three virus waves since the outbreak in January last year. The Delta-driven third wave of infections peaked in September when it reported its highest daily tally.

The Philippines, which has around 110 million population, has tested more than 22.5 million people since the pandemic. - Xinhua

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