Politics

Daily COVID-19 tally lowest in 9 months; active cases at 30,544

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PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE DEPARTMENT of Health (DoH) reported 1,409 coronavirus infections on Tuesday, the lowest in almost nine months.

Tuesday’s tally was the eighth straight day that cases were fewer than 3,000, bringing the total to 2.8 million.

The agency reported only 46 more deaths due to technical issues, bringing the total to 44,567, while recoveries increased by 2,941 to 2.7 million, according to a bulletin.

There were 30,544 active cases, 60.7% of which were mild, 8% did not show symptoms, 10% were severe, 17.05% were moderate and 4.2% were critical.

DoH said nine duplicates had been removed from the tally, eight of which were recoveries, while 46 recoveries were reclassified as deaths. Fourteen laboratories failed to submit data on Nov. 7.

It said 42% of intensive care units in the Philippines were occupied, while the rate for Metro Manila was 37%.

The Philippines was set to take delivery on Tuesday of 793,900 doses of the vaccine made by AstraZeneca Plc, presidential spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. told a televised news briefing.

He said almost 64.9 million doses of coronavirus vaccines had been given out as of Nov. 8.

Almost 29.8 million people or 38.64% of adult Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, he added.

In the capital region, 90% or 8.8 million of 9.8-million residents have been fully inoculated. About 99.4% of Metro residents have received their first dose. Mr. Roque said 749,424 doses were injected on Monday.

The government is targeting to give out as many as 1.5 million vaccine doses daily starting Nov. 20.

Meanwhile, Mr. Roque said passing a law on compulsory vaccination would not violate the Philippine constitution.

Vaccine czar Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. earlier said he was in favor of making coronavirus vaccinations mandatory.

Mr. Roque said the state could exercise its police power to make COVID-19 vaccination compulsory.

Lawmakers need to pass a law to make mandatory vaccination legal, he said. “Once a law is passed, there can’t be any objections because there have been decisions by the Supreme Courts of the Philippines and the United States recognizing the validity of such laws,” he said in Filipino.

Mr. Roque also noted that while requiring beneficiaries of the government’s conditional cash transfer program to get vaccinated is reasonable, the law that created it should be amended first.

The Philippines targets to inoculate at least 50% of its adult population by yearend, as it reopens its economy amid decreasing coronavirus infections.

Mayors in the capital region have asked the government not to require face shields anymore, except in critical areas such as hospitals, village health centers and public transportation.

Metro Manila mayors made the recommendation to an inter-agency task force during a recent meeting.

Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko” M. Domagoso on Monday signed an order allowing residents of the capital not to wear face shields anymore except in hospitals.

Mr. Roque on Monday said people should continue to use face shields pending review by the task force of the mayors’ proposal.

Mayors should follow the task force, which “exercises derivative authority from the President,” he said, adding that mayors are under the President.

Mr. Roque said the order of Mr. Domagoso, who is running for president next year under a rival political party, is void “for being in violation of an existing executive policy decreed by the President himself in the exercise of police powers.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza