THE DEPARTMENT of Health (DoH)) reported 5,279 coronavirus infections on Sunday, bringing the total to 2.8 million.

The death toll rose to 41,793 after 208 more patients died, while recoveries increased by 7,312 to 2.7 million, it said in a bulletin.

There were 60,957 active cases, 77.5% of which were mild, 6.1% did not show symptoms, 5.1% were severe, 9.2% were moderate and 2.1% were critical.

The agency said 53% of intensive care units in Metro Manila were occupied, while the national rate was 46%.

DoH said 23 duplicates had been removed from the tally, 16 of which were reclassified as recoveries, while 154 recoveries were relisted as deaths. Two laboratories failed to submit data on Oct. 22.

The country’s coronavirus reproduction number was 0.52, lower than the critical cutoff of 1.4, OCTA Research Group fellow Fredegusto P. David said in a Facebook Messenger chat. The country’s seven-day average declined by 35% to 5,451, he added.

Mr. David said coronavirus cases in the Philippines have declined due to its vaccination program and public compliance with health protocols.

“I cannot say if there are improvements in the pandemic response, but we can say that the interventions are working right now,” he said.

The Philippines, which scored poorly in a global index that measured the recovery of more than 100 countries from the coronavirus pandemic, targets to inoculate at least 50% of its adult population by yearend.

The delivery of coronavirus vaccines to provinces remains a challenge, vaccine czar Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. said in a statement.

The Philippines has 10 million coronavirus vaccine doses in its warehouses that are ready for distribution, while 40 million doses were ready to be given out, he said.

“As I have been telling our local government units over the past several weeks, vaccine supply is no longer a problem for our country,” Mr. Galvez said. “Our main concern at this point is how to get these COVID-19 jabs into the arms of as many Filipinos as quickly as possible.”

The vaccine czar said local government units no longer need to buy more doses because the country has enough supply.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez earlier said the government had been sitting on the vaccine procurement applications of local governments.

“The country has been receiving an average of one million coronavirus vaccines daily since the start of October. And once we receive them, they are immediately deployed to LGUs and other implementing units throughout the country,” Mr. Galvez said. “There is no time wasted.”

The Philippines has received 94.7 million doses of coronavirus vaccines, 58.7 million of which were bought by the national government, 24.3 million were donated through a global initiative for equal access, 7.98 million were bought by local governments and the private sector and 3.64 million were donated by partner countries.

About three million doses of the coronavirus vaccine made by Sinovac Biotech Ltd. were set to arrive on Sunday evening.

DoH earlier said the second phase of vaccination for children started in the capital region on Friday.

The vaccination for children will be closely monitored to detect adverse events following immunization to ensure their safety, it added.

Vaccinating minors is expected to help improve their social environment after the lockdown stunted their social growth. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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