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PH surpasses 1,000th mark in over a month; remains under Alert Level 2 until Jan. 15, 2022

By NICK GARCIA Published Dec 30, 2021 6:50 pm

The Department of Health (DOH) on Dec. 30 has reported 1,623 COVID-19 cases in a single day, the first time that daily fresh infections surpassed the 1,000th mark in over a month.

The country's last highest daily tally was on Nov. 21, which saw 2,227 new cases.

The country's positivity rate, or the number of COVID-19 test results that turned out positive, stood at 6.6%, the highest positivity rate since last Oct. 31's 6.75%.

The World Health Organization (WHO) set the 5% positivity rate benchmark for entering the new normal.

The national caseload has already stood at over 2.84 million.

The DOH also reported 133 individuals succumbing to COVID-19. Death toll stood at over 51,000. Some 256 patients, meanwhile, have overcome the disease, bringing total recoveries to over 2.77 million.

The agency has attributed the recent spike in cases to the increased holiday mobility and the public's supposed "reduced" compliance to health protocols.

The increase in the country's COVID-19 numbers is happening as other countries like the United States, France, Italy, Britain, and Australia experience a surge in cases in light of the threat of the Omicron variant.

The country has detected its fourth case of the Omicron variant.

The WHO said it has a "growth advantage" over the already infectious Delta variant, inasmuch as it "suggests a reduction" in vaccine efficacy, based on current limited evidence.

Alert Level 2

Earlier in the day, Malacañang announced that the Philippines will remain under Alert Level 2 until Jan. 15, 2022.

Under the second lowest alert level in the five-tier system, several establishments are allowed at half capacity indoors for fully vaccinated adults and even unvaccinated minors. Outdoor settings may accept anybody at 70% capacity.

With the New Year celebrations already fast approaching, the DOH called on the everybody to reassess their plans.

In a statement on Dec. 30, it urged the public "to do what is within our power to avoid making year 2022 '2020, too.'"

"Safest option will be to stay in your family bubble and avoid gatherings outside of your bubble," the DOH said. "If you still prefer to MEET, then DON'T EAT together so you can safely keep your masks on while enjoying the company of family and friends outside of your bubble."

The agency also pointed out that over 1.5 million senior citizens, who are at most risk of severe COVID-19, are still unvaccinated.

Following best practices, the DOH said, all local government units are expected to do house-to-house vaccination just "to reach this last mile" of covering the vulnerable age group.

To date, over 48.6 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. About 1.6 million Filipinos have received their booster shots.