Philippines logs 517 new Covid-19 cases as death toll tops 49,000 on Saturday (Dec 4)

A man eats behind plastic barriers as protection against the spread of the coronavirus at the Quezon Memorial Circle park in Quezon city, Philippines on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. Restrictions have eased due to the decline in Covid19 cases as the government keeps a close watch for the new omicron virus variant. - AP

MANILA, Dec. 4 (Xinhua): The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported 517 new Covid-19 infections on Saturday, pushing the number of confirmed cases in the South-East Asian country to 2,834,294.

The Philippines has recorded less than 1,000 cases for the 11th straight day.

The DOH also reported that 243 more people died from Covid-19 complications, bringing the country's death toll related to the virus to 49,230.

The Philippines, with a population of 110 million, has tested more than 22.5 million people since the outbreak of the pandemic.

The Philippines has tightened the quarantine and testing rules for incoming travelers flying in from countries outside of the 14 banned countries due to Omicron variant outbreaks.

However, the country has recorded less than 1,000 cases for 11th straight day.

The government has tightened the quarantine and testing rules for incoming travelers flying in from countries outside of the 14 banned countries due to Omicron variant outbreaks.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said travelers must present a negative result of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) swab test conducted 72 hours before departure from the country of origin from Friday.

Upon arrival, the vaccinated travelers must undergo a facility-based quarantine. On the fifth day, they will be swab tested again, and even if the result is negative, they need to isolate at home until the 14th day from the date of arrival.

Under the previous rule, incoming travelers outside the flagged high-risk countries were only asked to self-monitor after a negative RT-PCR test result.

Unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated traveler needs to present negative RT-PCR test results taken 72 hours before leaving the country of origin, Nograles said.

For those travelers, they need to undergo facility-based quarantine. While on quarantine, an RT-PCR test will be taken on the seventh day and must complete the 14-day quarantine at home even if the test result is negative, according to Nograles.

"International passengers who have already arrived and are currently undergoing quarantine shall continue with the testing and quarantine protocols in place at the time of their arrival," Nograles said at a virtual press conference.

From Nov. 15 to 29, the DOH said the country has recorded 253 arrivals from South Africa, 249 are returning overseas Filipinos, and 4 are foreign nationals.

"The Bureau of Quarantine has already verified or contacted 71 of these travelers, while 182 are still being verified," the DOH said in a statement.

The Philippines has barred travellers from South Africa and 13 countries in Europe and southern Africa with known Omicron outbreaks. - Xinhua

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