Health worker Philippines Manila protective suit
File photo shows a health worker putting on a protective suit as they conduct mass testing for COVID-19 in Manila, Philippines. The Asian country has reported 52,150 COVID deaths, with an additional 15 more confirmed deaths from September 2021 to January this year. Image Credit: AP


  • Health department reports increasing number of Philippine healthcare workers infected with COVID-19.
  • 15 more COVID deaths recorded, bringing toll to 52,150 in the Asian country. 
  • Landmark 3 million COVID cases could be hit “a day or two”.

Manila: The Philippines recorded 28,707 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, reportedly due to highly-transmissible Omicron variant rapidly circulating in the community, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Monday.

It was the highest-ever single day count since the agency started the daily log of COVID cases two years ago. The agency also reported an increasing number of Philippine healthcare workers testing positive for COVID-19.

It was not immediately clear what was the case count among Filipino health workers.

44% positivity rate

Meanwhile, a record 44% positivity rate — two out of every five — of the 77,479 people who were tested on Friday (January 7) were positive for COVID-19, the DOH reported.

The case numbers could have been higher as 14 laboratories were not able to submit their results to the COVID-19 Document Repository System.

Nearly 3 million cases

The country is expected to hit 3 million cases in a day or two, as total cases has now reached 2,965,447.

The Asian country has reported 52,150 COVID deaths, with an additional 15 more confirmed deaths from September 2021 to January this year.

The health department also added that active COVID cases jumped to 128,114, though 96.4% or 119,276, were recorded as milld, and another 4,213 were asymptomatic.

Of those who fell ill, 309 are in critical condition; 1,465 are severely ill, and 2,851 are moderately ill.

In the past 14 days till January 9, nearly 60% of the new cases detected were in Metro Manila (also known as the National Capital Region), 20%in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon), and 10% in Central Luzon, the DOH reported. Hospital admissions have also spiked over the past week, the agency added.

COVID ICU hospital beds: 52% full

With the rise in cases, COVID-19 ICU beds in Metro Manila are now 52% full — compared to 35% national average).

Also, 26% of ventilators available for Metro Manila COVID-19 patients with respiratory problems were also in use, against 18% at the national level.

Health authorities added that no at-home antigen test kits had been approved by the regulatory agency Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The DOH explained that rapid "antigen tests" must be administered by healthcare professionals and used on symptomatic COVID-19 patients, close contacts, and those with a history of exposure in areas with outbreaks.

“Currently, there are no FDA approved COVID-19 self-testing kits. The FDA has not approved any of the self-administered antigen kits,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told Philippine media on Friday.

The lab RT-PCR swab test, the gold standard for accuracy of COVID-19 test, is the DOH’s accepted test for the virus.

“For the laboratories, they are now implementing a maximum number of swabbing per day to ensure continued operations and protect the healthcare workers at the same time,” Vergeire said.