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Expert sees virus under control, Duterte touts trend

A medical adviser of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 said he believes the country now has the infectious disease under control, given the low positivity rate over the last two weeks.

In a briefing Wednesday, Dr. Ted Herbosa said the country’s positivity rate of 2.3 percent was well under the World Health Organization (WHO) benchmark of 5 percent.

The Philippines logged only 890 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases to 2,828,660.

There were 200 new fatalities, bringing the COVID-19 death toll to 47,682.

The Department of Health (DOH) also reported 1,710 new recoveries, bringing the total recoveries to 2,763,114.

There 17,864 active cases, of which 53.4 percent were mild, 4.8 percent were asymptomatic, 6 percent were critical, 14.4 percent were severe, and 21.39 percent were moderate.

The COVID-19 positivity rate remained below 5 percent, at 2.5 percent, which was slightly higher than the 2.3 percent positivity rate recorded on Tuesday.

Nationwide, 31 percent of ICU beds, 28 percent of isolation beds, 16 percent of ward beds, and 19 percent of ventilators, were in use.

In Metro Manila, 29 percent of ICU beds, 25 percent of isolation beds, 21 percent of ward beds, and 21 percent of ventilators, were in use.

President Rodrigo Duterte renewed his appeal to the public to continue adhering to government-mandated health protocols to sustain the current gains as the country has gained momentum in its fight against COVID-19.

“One, we are slowly but surely making progress in our COVID-19 campaign. Second, I am very pleased to inform the entire nation that we continue to beat COVID-19. Recent statistics affirmed this,”

Duterte said in his weekly public address on government interventions on the pandemic.

“We thank God for the declining cases of COVID 19. But we still have to follow health protocols being implemented by the government if we really want to make a headway,” he added.

He warned Filipinos that while the developments in the past few weeks show that the country is steadily beating COVID-19, they must remain careful and continue practicing mask use, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and getting COVID-19 shots whenever possible.

Citing the importance of immunization, the President said Europe and the US have been experiencing a surge in cases due to the large number of people who remain unvaccinated and relaxation on the implementation of health protocols.

The President said 76.5 million vaccine doses have been administered throughout the country as of Tuesday.

Of this number, 41.9 million are given the first dose, while more than 33.5 million are given a second dose and single-dose shots.

“I am very pleased to know that we have already vaccinated more than 3 million minors aged 12 to 17,” he added.

In other developments:

* A health expert said it may be better to maintain the Alert Level 2 quarantine status in Metro Manila until the end of the year, as the country continues to ramp up its vaccination program against COVID-19. “Why don’t we sacrifice for a month and maintain the Alert Level 2 until December 31, until we have completed the vaccination program on Nov. 29 to De. 1 and then the booster shots for the priority groups? And then let us look at the scorecard again,” Dr. Tony Leachon said on ANC’s “Market Edge.”

* The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said that it is set to deploy additional personnel at the country’s international airports as the Philippines prepares for the eventual reopening of its borders to foreign tourists. In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said while no definite date has been decided on when the Philippines will reopen to foreign tourists, he is confident that this will be very soon.

Topics: low positivity rate , World Health Organization , COVID-19 , Ted Herbosa

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