COVID-19 pandemic: Latest situation in the Philippines – January 2022

COVID-19 pandemic: Latest situation in the Philippines – January 2022


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, including the newly identified Omicron variant? What should the public expect in terms of the economy? What’s the status of the country’s vaccination rollout among the general public, children, and in the provinces? What about booster shots?

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


Omicron leaves Filipinos scrambling for testing

NO VAX, NO RIDE. The DOTr conduct free antigen testing for MRT-3 passengers during select days in January 2022. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

The number of new COVID-19 cases every day could be 10 times more than what the government is reporting, according to a doctor interviewed for this in-depth report, and that’s because a lot of Filipinos exhibiting symptoms fail to book with laboratories.

They lament how difficult it is to get tested for COVID-19 nearly two years into the pandemic. They are irked by how that Philippine government wasn’t able to strengthen its testing capacity, a basic component of any government’s pandemic response.

“It’s been almost two years. We deserve a better response than this,” said a woman who had to drive to another city and endure a line for two hours to get tested. And her experience was not even the worst yet.

Read the full report here.

Bonz Magsambol

3 Cordillera provinces, Northern Samar placed under Alert Level 4

The alert level of three provinces in the Cordilleras and the province of Northern Samar in the Visayas have been escalated to Alert Level 4, an indication of the stress placed by COVID-19 surges on local healthcare systems.

The new alert level will be in place starting Friday, January 21, until January 31.

Details here.

Pia Ranada

DOH urges 18 areas under Alert Level 3 to prep hospitals as cases increase

These areas show trends that mimic the spike in cases in Metro Manila, but have vaccination rates lower than 40% as of January 14, 2022.

Read more.

Sofia Tomacruz

DOH bulletin: COVID-19 cases as of January 19, 2022

Philippines detects 492 more Omicron cases

The 492 newly detected Omicron cases account for 68.9% of the 714 positive samples that underwent genome sequencing on January 13 to 14. Read more.

Bonz Magsambol

Robredo urges parents to get their kids vaccinated vs COVID-19

Presidential aspirant and Vice President Leni Robredo called on parents to get their qualified children vaccinated against the coronavirus. She made the appeal on Wednesday, January 19, through a Facebook Live video that Robredo recorded on the sidelines of her office’s drive-through COVID-19 vaccination drive Vaccine Express in Magarao, Camarines Sur.

“So, ‘yung mga nanood po sa atin ngayon, hinihikayat lang po natin na magpabakuna na po tayo, ‘yung mga hindi pa nababakunahan. Tapos ‘yung mga anak niyo po na qualified na, pabakunahan na po natin para hindi tayo masyado nag-alala, lalo pa po kasi grabe ang transmissibility nitong bagong variant na ‘to, ‘yung Omicron. At least protected tayo sa mas severe na symptoms,” Robredo said. 

(So to those watching right now, I am urging you to get vaccinated if you haven’t yet. And if your children are qualified, please get them vaccinated too, especially now that the transmissibility of the Omicron variant is so high. At least we’d be protected against the more severe symptoms.)

The Philippines has so far allowed the COVID-19 vaccination of minors aged 12 to 17 years old.  The government is eyeing to begin vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 by February. 

Mara Cepeda

COVID-19 Weekly Watch: Here’s proof that vaccines work

VACCINATE. Residents receive COVID-19 jabs at a vaccination site in Imus, Cavite on January 11, 2022. The LGU announced that 4 vaccination sites will be open to non-residents starting January 12. Dennis Abrina/Rappler

This week of January 17, 2022, we take a look at some of the ways our COVID-19 vaccines continue to offer hope amid the record surge in cases.

The past few weeks may have felt like a painful deja vu for many, with the Omicron variant zapping us back to scenarios we first saw in 2020. But one big thing that brings us back to the reality of how far we’ve come since then is our vaccines. 

Experts in the Philippines as well as the rest of the world continue to describe vaccines as a major factor that has reshaped the risk landscape of COVID-19. This is why so many continue to call for wider and more equal access to vaccines around the world – something  that is urgent and necessary to end the acute phase of the pandemic. 

The question of what our vaccines can and can’t do for us is crucial to learning how to cope with COVID-19. In this edition of weekly watch, we look at four ways vaccines have made progress in the health crisis. Together, they lay out how 2022 is far from a do-over of 2020.

Read the full outlook here.

Sofia Tomacruz

LIST: COVID-19 test kits approved by Philippine FDA


The Philippine Food and Drug Administration has approved these RT-PCR, antigen, and antibody rapid test kit brands for commercial use, based on the performance evaluation and recommendation of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, as of January 16, 2022.

See the full lists here.

DOLE to give P5,000 cash aid to workers as Alert Level 3 extended

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will be providing a one-time P5,000 cash aid to private sector workers, after Alert Level 3 was extended in Metro Manila and other areas until end-January.

On Tuesday, January 18, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the department has set aside P1 billion for its COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), which would benefit 200,000 workers.

Details here.

Aika Rey

DOH bulletin: COVID-19 cases as of January 18, 2022