WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
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 are the latest updates from the World Health Organization regarding the vaccines? How is the Department of Health addressing the variants? What should the public expect in terms of the economy, quarantine classifications, and the vaccine rollout?
Bookmark and refresh this page for the latest news updates, opinion articles, and analysis pieces about the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines.
Galvez: Companies can use vaccine orders for boosters, but follow prioritization
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Sunday, November 28, that companies can use coronavirus vaccines they ordered as booster shots, but they must follow government guidelines on which groups are already eligible to receive additional doses.
“[Health] Secretary [Francisco] Duque, [Trade] Secretary Mon Lopez, and I – we are for the private sector using their expiring doses. We just need to wait for the EUA (emergency use authorization) because the EUAs that came from [Food and Drug Administration] DG (Director General) Eric Domingo are only for A1, A2, A3,” Galvez said in Filipino.
More details here.
Philippines eyes deals for at least 90 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in 2022
The Philippine government is in talks with manufacturers for the purchase of at least 90 million coronavirus vaccine doses needed in 2022, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Sunday, November 28.
Galvez told reporters in a press briefing that the doses will mostly cover booster shots, while vaccines to be used for first and second doses – known as a primary series – will come from supplies purchased through deals secured in 2021.
Here is the full story.
New COVID-19 cases in Philippines hit 11-month low
The number of new COVID-19 cases reported in the Philippines hit an 11-month low on Sunday, November 28.
The Department of Health (DOH) announced 838 new confirmed cases, the lowest one-day tally since December 28, 2020, when 766 infections were reported.
Philippines buys 20 million more Pfizer doses for boosters, kids’ vaccination
The Philippine government signed a supply agreement to purchase 20 million additional doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, raising the country’s total order of this brand to 60 million doses – its biggest deal to date.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. made the announcement in a press briefing on Sunday, November 28, saying the deal had been signed the previous day.
Philippines’ COVID-19 cases now at 2,831,177
The Philippines now has 2,831,177 confirmed COVID-19 cases after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 899 new cases on Saturday, November 27.
This is the fourth straight day that the daily tally is below 1,000 cases. Of the total caseload, 17,052 or 0.6% are active.
The daily positivity rate – or the percentage of all COVID-19 tests performed that are actually positive – is at 2.4%.
This is the 15th straight day that the daily positivity rate is below 5%. The DOH also reported 188 deaths on Saturday, bringing the death toll to 48,205.
Meanwhile, the recoveries were up by 1,667, raising the total to 2,765,920. The DOH said two laboratories were not operational on Thursday, November 25 and another two failed to submit data on time. Based on data from the past two weeks, these four laboratories account for 0.1% of all samples and 0.1% of positive cases.
DOH may expand travel ban list vs Omicron variant
The Department of Health is looking into adding more countries to the list of suspended inbound flights to the Philippines in light of Omicron, the COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa and named by the World Health Organization as a “variant of concern.”
At a Laging Handa briefing on Saturday, November 27, DOH Director of Health Promotion Beverly Ho said that the public can expect an announcement on Saturday or Sunday. Ho was responding to a question on whether Hong Kong will be added, due to the two confirmed cases of the Omicron variant there.
She also mentioned earlier during the briefing that in cases like infectious diseases, it would be impossible to close borders forever and the Omicron variant will likely enter eventually, similar to how the Delta variant entered all countries despite travel bans.
“So it was not a matter of makakapasok ba siya but it’s really a matter of when – kung mas later ba o kung mas handa na ang sistema natin,” she said. (So it was not a matter of if it could enter but it’s really a matter of when – if it will enter much later on or if our system is more ready for it.)
Ho also said that the DOH is studying whether the vaccines available in the Philippines are effective against the new variant. – Rappler.com