- Lowest cases since July
- Curbs may get prolonged
The Philippines logged 934 new COVID-19 cases Friday, the lowest single-day record since July.
The new cases bring the total number of infections since the pandemic began to 436,345.
The Department of Health reported 148 new recoveries, bringing to 399,457 the number of patients who have recovered from the disease. These account for 91.5 percent of the total number of cases.
The DOH also logged 63 new fatalities bringing the death toll to 8,509, which is 1.95 percent of the total number of cases.
There are still 28,379 active cases undergoing treatment or quarantine. This is 6.5 percent of the total cases. Among these, 85.4 percent are mild, 6.9 percent are asymptomatic, 2.5 percent are severe, 4.9 percent are critical, and 0.28 percent are in moderate condition.
Restrictions lifted by 3Q 2021
The government plans to lift COVID-19 quarantine protocols in the entire country by the third quarter of 2021, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Friday.
Vergeire’s remark was made in response to the comment of National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Karl Chua that the country is expected to stay under quarantine protocols for the whole of next year.
Vergeire said the key to faster transition to the new normal is strengthened local government units’ gatekeeping components such as surveillance, contact tracing, quarantine facilities, and COVID testing efforts so they can transition to a more relaxed modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) by the second quarter of 2021.
Seminars at 30% capacity okayed
The government has allowed the conduct of workshops, training, seminars, and other similar events in areas under general community quarantine at 30-percent venue capacity, Malacanang said.
In a statement, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said other events allowed are congresses, conferences, board meetings, colloquia, conclaves, symposia, and consumer trade shows.
“The above-mentioned events must be held in venues in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and will be permitted up to 30 percent venue capacity,” Roque said.
“Venues include restaurants, in general; restaurants attached to hotels; ballrooms and function halls within hotels; venues within hotel premises; and mall atria,” he added.
Stay home for the holidays – DOH
The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday advised the public to stay at home with the family this Christmas season and instead use digital platforms such as video calls to keep in touch with relatives for a safer and healthier Christmas.
“We can still have a meaningful Christmas even if we stay at home and reconnect with our friends and families online,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
He said that going out, visiting relatives and friends, and attending family reunions are possible sources of infection as one cannot ascertain the exposure of and health status of other people.
Parks better than malls for kids
An infectious diseases expert on Thursday urged local government units to consider reopening parks during the holiday season, since children are still not allowed in malls because of the continuing threat of COVID-19.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Dr. Benjamin Co said even with safety measures against the novel coronavirus, there is no guarantee that going to malls is safe for those allowed.
“You have to remember that it is still an enclosed area and it is very difficult to keep physical distancing in an enclosed area,” Co said.
Co recommended going to parks where the public, especially the children, could enjoy the open space, which reduces the chances of contracting the virus.
Divisoria crowds unsafe, Duque says
THE government on Thursday urged thousands of shoppers flocking to Manila’s Divisoria to prioritize their health amid the coronavirus pandemic over the low-priced goods that the commercial center is known for.
According to a GMA online report, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso made the rounds to remind shoppers of the true cost of shopping in crowded areas.
“It’s true you may find bargains, but everything you’ve saved, all your discounts [will mean nothing] if you are infected with COVID-19,” Domagoso said in Filipino. “You go into the hospital in one piece and you’ll come out as ashes.”
Domagoso also urged vendors to sell their goods online instead to thin the crowds that pack Divisoria regularly.
For his part, Duque warned for a possible surge of COVID-19 cases this Christmas season.