COVID-19 pandemic: Latest situation in the Philippines – January 2021

COVID-19 pandemic: Latest situation in the Philippines – January 2021


How many people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Philippines? How many have recovered, and how many have died? What is President Rodrigo Duterte doing about it? What should the public expect in terms of the economy and vaccine development?

Bookmark and refresh this page for the latest news updates, opinion articles, and analysis pieces about the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines.


DOH says OFW in Hong Kong with UK COVID-19 variant now a ‘closed case’

Nearly a month after a Filipina domestic worker in Hong Kong tested positive for the United Kingdom (UK) COVID-19 variant, the Department of Health (DOH) said that her case has been resolved and was now considered closed.

In a virtual press briefing on Friday, January 29, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that all identified close contacts of the Filipina tested negative for the more infectious variant of COVID-19.

Full story here.

DOH: 57 contacts of returning Filipino in Bontoc positive for COVID-19

Bonz Magsambol

The Department of Health (DOH) said on Friday, January 29, that it has traced 369 contacts of a returning Filipino from the United Kingdom who tested positive for COVID-19. 

Of the total contacts, 233 were tested for COVID-19 and 57 yielded positive results. Meanwhile, initial genome sequencing results revealed that 12 cases were found to have the more infectious variant.

The DOH said that the next batch of genome sequencing results will be out on Monday, February 1. 

Philippines revises quarantine protocols for foreigners allowed entry

The Philippines has modified quarantine rules for foreigners who are allowed to enter the country

In a statement on Friday, January 29, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said that foreign travelers with valid visas and coming from countries that are not covered by the Philippines’ travel ban should comply with the following requirements:

Pre-booking for at least 7 nights as an accredited quarantine hotel or facility

Undergo COVID-19 testing at the quarantine hotel or facility on the 6th day after their arrival

DOH bulletin: COVID-19 cases as of January 28, 2021

DFA headquarters on lockdown until February 2

Sofia Tomacruz

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr said on Thursday, January 28, that the Department of Foreign Affairs headquarters will be on lockdown after some of its employees tested positive for COVID-19. 

Locsin, who tested negative for the disease, said he was placing himself under quarantine after a January 27 meeting with officers who tested positive. 

“We’re going into lockdown til Tuesday when we test again,” he said. 

MRT3 chief Rodolfo Garcia positive for COVID-19

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Thursday, January 28, said Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) General Manager Rodolfo Garcia tested positive for the coronavirus.

During a media interview with reporters, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said Garcia is currently in the intensive care unit of a hospital because of COVID-19.

Read the full story here.

Philippines approves AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Unlike other vaccines the Philippines eyed to buy, AstraZeneca was among the few companies that have so far expressed willingness to enter into tripartite deals involving local governments and the private sector. Other companies said to be open to the setup are US drug makers Moderna and Novavax.

Health experts earlier said that AstraZeneca’s vaccine would also be easier to distribute in poorer and harder-to-reach areas, considering it can be transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 6 months, making it compatible with the Department of Health’s (DOH) storage facilities. 

Read the full story here.

Getting off the high horse: Mayor Magalong and the Tim Yap incident

Tao lang po (I’m only human),” Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said about the Tim Yap party incident.

“So ano kami, mga cactus (So what are we, cacti)?” one resident commented.

Read the full report here.

DOLE Region 3, Pampanga offices temporarily closed due to COVID-19 cases

Jun A. Malig

PAMPANGA – The Central Luzon and Pampanga offices of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) both located in San Fernando, Pampanga, were temporarily closed after some personnel contracted COVID-19.

DOLE Central Luzon announced in a Facebook post that the offices will resume operations on Monday, February 1, and that disinfection and decontamination of offices will be conducted during the temporary closure.

“All our employees are also in a work from home arrangement to ensure unhampered delivery of our services. Our online platforms are also in place for your convenience and safety,” it added.

DOLE Central Luzon gave the following hotline numbers that the public may call: 0925 815 0215 for the regional office and 0917 554 8259 or 0925 815 0223 for the Pampanga Field Office. It also gave the following e-mail addresses: and

As of January 27, Pampanga recorded a total of 7,445 confirmed COVID-19 cases of which 604 are active cases. –

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