Philippines logs 1,776 new COVID-19 cases, total nears 484,000

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Representative image
Representative image

Manila [Philippines], January 8 (ANI/Xinhua): The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines on Friday reported 1,776 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the country's total tally to 483,852.

The death toll climbed to 9,364 after eight more patients died from the coronavirus epidemic, the DOH said. It added that 285 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 449,330.

The Philippines, which has a population of about 110 million, has so far tested over 6.5 million people.

The Philippines is monitoring the new strains of COVID-19 reported in some countries.

Aside from the coronavirus variant found in Britain, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH is now checking two other variants found in South Africa and Malaysia.

Nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Vergeire said the Philippines is "not out of the woods yet." The fluctuating daily number of cases reported in recent weeks "is not stable," she said.

"I don't think it is time for us to make conclusions at this point in our situation regarding this pandemic. There are still many challenges and factors that we need to consider, such as the new variants," she said.

She said the number of daily cases reported in recent days is not conclusive, adding that a 30 percent decrease in the output of COVID-19 laboratories has affected the figures.

"We are not certain at this point if the number has decreased. We need to see further numbers in the coming days for us to confirm if the number of cases is decreasing or increasing," she said.

She said it needs another week or two to see if there was a spike in the number of cases during the holiday season.

Meanwhile, Undersecretary Rowena Guevara of the Department of Science and Technology said in the same briefing that the Russian Gamaleya Research Institute has withdrawn its application to conduct clinical trials in the Philippines.

Instead, Guevara said the vaccine maker will apply for emergency use authorization (EUA) of its COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V.

Pfizer was the first to apply for EUA in the Philippines, followed by British-Swedish vaccine maker AstraZeneca. (ANI/Xinhua)