Cases still very high as Philippines logs 32,744 new Covid-19 cases and 156 more deaths on Friday (Jan 21)

A healthcare worker conducts a swab test inside a medical facility in Marikina City, Metro Manila, the Philippines, on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. The Philippines has one of Asia’s lowest vaccination rates, with only about half of its population receiving two shots, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. Its limited and costly testing apparatus, fragmented tracing program and fragile health system have made it hard to stamp out outbreaks despite several economically devastating lockdowns. - Bloomberg

MANILA, Jan. 21 (Xinhua): The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported 32,744 new Covid-19 infections on Friday, raising the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 3,357,083.

The number of active cases rose to 291,618 as the country's positivity rate increased to 44 percent from 43.3 percent recorded in the previous day.

The DOH said 156 more people died from Covid-19 complications, pushing the country's death toll to 53,309.

Starting Friday, the government elevated three provinces in the northern Philippines and another in the central Philippines to alert level 4 on a scale of 5 due to the high Covid-19 transmission and hospitalisation rate.

Alert level 4 bars residents under 18, over 65 years old and those with underlying illnesses from going out of their homes. Establishments like restaurants, barber shops, and beauty salons can operate at a maximum of 10 percent indoor venue for fully vaccinated individuals only and 30 percent outdoor capacity.

The government also raised the alert level of 15 more areas to 3 as the Omicron-driven surge spreads to areas outside Metro Manila. The new alert levels will stay until Jan. 31.

Guido David, a professor at the University of the Philippines and OCTA Research fellow, said that new cases outside Metro Manila spiked by 200 percent in the last eight days.

The capital region remains under alert level 3. Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the number of cases in Metro Manila has plateaued.

The DOH reported the highest single-day tally on Jan. 15 with 39,004 new cases. - Xinhua

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