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New PH COVID-19 cases stay below 1,000 for first time in 3 months

For the first time since July 14, the Philippines logged less than 1,000 coronavirus cases in a day on Wednesday, November 4.

The Department of Health (DOH) reported 987 new COVID-19 cases after 3 months of reporting infections in the thousands, reaching to as high as over 6,000 in August. With the latest numbers, there are now 388,137 total confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.

The last time the daily report of new cases was below 1,000 was on July 14, when 634 cases were confirmed.

The new daily figure, however, was only based on 147 laboratories out of 159 licensed testing hubs. The DOH also attributed the relatively low number of new cases to Typhoon Rolly, and said that the trend may continue in the coming days.

"The relative low report in the new cases is part of the effects of the Typhoon Rolly. We further caution that this decrease may still be observed over the next few days, and may be followed by a relative 'increase' in newly reported cases in the coming days or week," the DOH said in a statement.

"We will continue monitoring this development and ensure accurate reporting of our COVID-19 data," it added.

The DOH did not elaborate on the particular effects of the recent typhoon that caused the lower numbers but the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) shut down its laboratory operations on November 1 to 2 in preparation for Rolly, which was previously forecasted to directly hit Metro Manila.

Of the total coronavirus cases in the country, 31,679 are active cases.

The DOH reported 49 new deaths due to the coronavirus disease, bringing the death toll to 7,367, while recoveries are up by 140, raising total recoveries to 349,091.

Here are the top 5 areas in the country with the highest confirmed cases on Wednesday:

  1. Davao – 136
  2. Iloilo – 67
  3. Quezon City – 47
  4. Taguig City – 43
  5. Iloilo City – 41
No change in vaccine plans

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that there will be no change in vaccine plans of the country despite the appointment of National Task Force chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr as "vaccine czar."

"No processes would be changed. Madadagdagan lang po siguro (Maybe there will be addition) because we now have this vaccine czar," Vergeire said.

"Baka mag-a-add siya ng more expeditious na mga proseso para mas mapabilis po tayo (Maybe he will add more expeditious processes to make us move faster)," Vergeire added.

On October 29, the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) created a structure that would manage and distribute COVID-19 vaccines once they become available to the Philippines.

The vaccine task group is to be led by the DOH. It was not clear how Galvez's new role as "vaccine czar" affects this arrangement. (READ: What we know about the Philippines’ COVID-19 vaccine plans)

Vergeire erlier said that the DOH targeted that by the first quarter of 2021, the entire country would be under the least strict modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), should local government units comply with standards on prevention, contact tracing and treatment.

Experts have repeatedly warned that the public must remain cautious and continue observing minimum health standards such as practicing social distancing, wearing of face masks, and staying at home if possible, despite relaxation of quarantine measures. – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.

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