Philippines logs 1,391 new COVID-19 cases, growth rate decreasing

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MANILA, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) — The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines reported on Tuesday 1,391 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 552,246.

The death toll climbed to 11,524 after seven more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said, adding that 45 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 511,796.

The Philippines, which has about 110 million people, has tested over 7.86 million people since the disease emerged in January last year.

The Philippines’ fight against the COVID-19 is improving, the DOH said, although there are still some regions with increasing rates.

“National growth rate is still showing a decrease, with initial signs of a plateauing trend from the mid-January increase,” Alethea de Guzman of the DOH’s Epidemiology Bureau said in an online briefing on Tuesday.

Coronavirus cases slightly spiked in mid-January due to increased mobility, crowding, and gatherings over the holidays, the DOH said.

While Metro Manila has a “negative growth rate”, de Guzman said eight cities in the capital show a spike in cases.

She said the healthcare utilization rate in all regions “are at the safe zone.” However, she stressed the need to sustain the health care capacity “across all levels.”

“Mortality counts have continued to decline,” de Guzman added.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque reported to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during a televised meeting on Monday night that the DOH is implementing aggressive response strategies to contain the spread of the more transmissible COVID-19 variant.

Duque said the DOH is coordinating with different regions with spiking infections to monitor the new variants.

The Philippines has detected 44 people that caught the new coronavirus variant first found in Britain. Only three are active cases as of Sunday, the DOH said, adding that one patient has died and 40 have recovered. Enditem

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