Philippines reports 5,434 COVID-19 cases, highest in over 2 months

Bonz Magsambol

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Philippines reports 5,434 COVID-19 cases, highest in over 2 months

CHRISTMAS EVE. Shoppers check out stalls in Divisoria, Manila, for last-minute Christmas shopping on December 24, 2021.


Nearly two years into the pandemic, the Philippines now has 2,861,119 confirmed cases of COVID-19

MANILA, Philippines – COVID-19 cases continue to climb in the country as the Department of Health (DOH) reported 5,434 new infections on Tuesday, January 4, bringing total cases to 2,861,119.

Tuesday’s cases are the highest since October 29, when a total of 7,482 cases were reported in two separate advisories, or since October 23, when 5,807 cases were reported in the bulletin for that day.

The DOH also recorded 18 deaths. The total death toll due to COVID-19 in the country now stands at 51,604.

Meanwhile, recoveries were up by 611 for a total of 2,779,706.

The DOH reported a positivity rate of 26.5% out of 25,704 tests, revising its earlier bulletin which stated a positivity rate of 26.2% out of 24,855 tests. These positive cases were added to the tally of confirmed cases only after further validation. This process helps ensure cases would not be recorded in duplicate, and that all test results had been submitted, explained the department.

A positivity rate of 26.5% means that one in four people tested turned out positive for COVID-19. The seven-day average of new cases exceeded 3,000 again, the highest since November 4.

The DOH said all testing hubs were operational on Sunday, January 2, while 16 laboratories were not able to submit their data on time. The cases reflected in the bulletin were based on tests conducted two days ago.

Tuesday’s cases are unusually high. COVID-19 cases every first half of the week, especially every Tuesday, are usually low due to non-operation of testing hubs and delays in data transmission (READ: Why are COVID-19 cases low during the first half of every week?)

Medicines out of stock

On Tuesday, pharmaceutical company Unilab said some of its brands are “temporarily out of stock” in select drugstores due to “extraordinary demand.” A number of pharmacies have informed customers that over-the-counter medicines used to treat symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are out of stock.

In an earlier statement, the DOH assured the public that “while there is an observed increased in demand, there is no ongoing shortage” of medicines.

The spike in cases comes as the Philippines detected 14 cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant. After two months of having “low risk” case classification, the Philippines is again deemed “high risk” for COVID-19 by the DOH. –

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.