In Geneva, meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over with Omicron strain spreading, as France, Germany and Brazil posted new records of infections.
The high detection rate of the variant, equivalent to nearly 69 percent of the 715 samples sequenced by the Philippine Genome Center from January 13 to 14 now classified it the most dominant variant in the country.
Regions were Omicron infections were detected include Central Visayas, Cagayan Valley, Western Visayas, Davao, Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos), Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos, Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), and the Bangsamoro Region in Muslim Mindanao.
On January 19, the Department of Health reported 22,958 new COVID-19 infections, pushing the total to 3,293,635.
The regions with the highest number of new cases during that period were Metro Manila (7,861 or 36%), Calabarzon (4,647 or 21%) and Central Luzon (2,049 or 9%).
The death toll surpassed 53,000 and is now at 53,044 – which is 1.61% of the COVID-19 count – after 82 more people lost their lives to the disease. Of the 82 additional deaths, 56 occurred this month, while 26 occurred last year: eight in October, 15 in September, and one each in July, May and January.
The health department said positivity rate is still high at 43.5% based on 62,531 tests reported on Jan. 17.
According to the World Health Organization, positivity rates should fall below 5% for countries to reopen.
While the growth rates in Metro Manila and nearby provinces have slowed down, the numbers are “still accelerating” in several cities in the rest of the country, according to the OCTA Research Group fellow Guido David.
For the Jan. 12 to 18 period, David said the growth rate in Metro Manila was at 10% while the reproduction number in the region stood at 2.07.
The OCTA Group said Tacloban, Cebu, Davao, Baguio, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, and Zamboanga have logged growth rates higher than 100%.