The Philippines reported 544 coronavirus infections on Friday — the 10th straight day that cases fell below a thousand — bringing the total to 2.83 million.

The death toll hit 48,987 after 235 more patients died, while recoveries increased by 734 to 2.77 million, the Department of Health (DoH) said in a bulletin.

There were 14,977 active cases, 7,166 of which were mild, 688 did not show symptoms, 2,433 were severe, 3,801 were moderate and 889 were critical.

The agency said 17 duplicates had been removed from the tally, 13 of which were reclassified as recoveries.

It added that 122 patients were found to be negative and have been removed from the tally. Of these, 122 were relisted as recoveries.It also said 218 cases that were tagged as recoveries had been reclassified as deaths.

Two laboratories did not operate on Nov. 30, while three to submit data.

DoH said 27% of intensive care units in the Philippines were occupied, while the rate for Metro Manila was 28%.

Meanwhile, one of 253 migrant Filipino workers and foreigners who came home from South Africa has tested positive for the coronavirus, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire said, amid threats from a potentially more contagious Omicron variant first detected there.

She did not say which variant was involved.

Eighty-three of the passengers who came home on Nov. 15 to 29 had tested negative, while 132 results were pending. Thirty-five did not require a swab test.

The government was tracing and retesting passengers from African countries who have come home, Ms. Vergeire told a televised news briefing on Friday.

One of three travelers who arrived from Burkina Faso and one of 541 passengers from Egypt — two countrieswhere the Omicron variant was present — had tested positive for the coronavirus, DoH said.

Meanwhile, the government lowered the lockdown level in Apayao province to No. 2 starting Friday until Dec. 15, acting presidential spokesman Karlo Alexei B. Nograles told an online news briefing on Friday.

“This latest development means that as of today, no province or city is currently under Alert Level 3,” he said. “The whole country is now under Alert Level 2.” — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan and Russell Louis C. Ku



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