THE DEPARTMENT of Health (DoH) reported 6,913 coronavirus infections on Sunday — the lowest daily tally in two-and-a-half months — bringing the total to 2.72 million.

The death toll rose to 40,675 after 95 more patients died, while recoveries increased by 10,237 to 2.6 million, it said in a bulletin.

There were 81,641 active cases, 82% of which were mild, 5.5% did not show symptoms, 3.8% were severe, 7.13% were moderate and 1.6% were critical.

The agency said 54 duplicates had been removed from the tally, 35 of which were reclassified as recoveries, while 31 recoveries were reclassified as deaths. Three laboratories failed to submit data on Oct. 15.

The lowest daily tally before Sunday was on Aug. 3, when health authorities reported 6,879 infections, according to DoH data.

An inter-agency task force last week placed Metro Manila under Alert Level 3 from Oct. 16 to Oct. 30, allowing more nonessential businesses such as cinemas to reopen at reduced capacities.

The downtrend in coronavirus infections in Metro Manila would probably continue, OCTA Research Group fellow Fredegusto P. David said in a Facebook Messenger chat.

“We are still expecting the seven-day average of cases in the country to drop to 5,000 to 6,000 by the end of October and to about 1,000 in the National Capital Region (NCR),” he said.

“A spike in cases may still happen in some local government units in NCR when minimum public health standards are not complied with,” he added.

Mr. David urged DoH to boost its information campaign and continue reminding the public to observe minimum health standards especially in malls and public areas.

The Health department should also increase detection and testing efforts, he added.

A group of doctors on Sunday said it was worried about the relaxed quarantine in Metro Manila because health workers have yet to breathe after a recent surge in infections.

The government might not be able to immediately respond to a sudden increase in infections, Maricar Limpin, president of the Philippine College of Physicians, told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.

Hospitals remained full even as cases have declined, she added.

The Philippines, which scored poorly in a global index that measured the recovery of more than 100 countries from the coronavirus pandemic, is boosting its vaccination drive to reach its target of inoculating at least 50% of its adult population by yearend.

Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte last week took responsibility for the shortage of coronavirus vaccines in the country early this year.

The president last month criticized rich countries for hoarding vaccines while poor countries struggled to secure shots for their people.

He described vaccine hoarding as a shockingly “selfish act” that should be condemned.

Earlier this year, Mr. Duterte accused the European Union of holding up vaccine supplies from other countries, citing the economic bloc’s export rule that requires drugmakers to obtain permission first before shipping out coronavirus vaccines.

The tough-talking leader has repeatedly threatened to order the arrest of Filipinos who refuse to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The coronavirus has sickened 241.2 million and killed 4.91 million worldwide, according to the Worldometer website, citing various sources including data from the World Health Organization. More than 218 million people have recovered, it said. — K.A.T. Atienza

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