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Published: 09:45, February 14, 2022 | Updated: 22:16, February 14, 2022
Philippines' COVID-19 death toll tops 55,000
By Agencies
Published:09:45, February 14, 2022 Updated:22:16, February 14, 2022 By Agencies

People crowd a street filled with stores as they shop in Manila on Feb 4, 2022, after authorities issued relaxation of COVID-19 rules. (TED ALJIBE / AFP)

DHAKA / YANGON / BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN / SINGAPORE / JAKARTA / HANOI / SEOUL / TOKYO / NEW DELHI / SUVA / SYDNEY / KUALA LUMPUR / WELLINGTON / MANILA / ULAN BATOR - The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported 2,730 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, pushing the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 3,639,942.

The DOH said 164 more people died from COVID-19 complications, bringing the country's death toll to 55,094.

The number of patients ill with the highly contagious disease dropped to 76,609 from Sunday's 81,394. The country's positivity rate also dropped to 10.7 percent from 11.7 percent the previous day.

Metro Manila will remain under COVID-19 restriction alert level two on a scale of five until the end of the month, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.

The DOH classified Metro Manila as moderate risk. Businesses, including restaurants, can operate, ranging from 50 percent to 70 percent.

Nograles added that a coronavirus task force has decided to retain the alert level in seven areas to three due to high COVID-19 cases.

The Philippines has seen four COVID-19 waves since the pandemic began in January 2020. The country reported the highest single-day tally on Jan 15 this year, with 39,004 new cases.

The Philippines, which has around 110 million population, has tested over 26 million people since the disease emerged. 

Staff check a client at a drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia on Jan 8, 2022. (MARK BAKER / AP)

Australia

Australia's two worst-hit states New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria on Monday recorded their lowest numbers of daily COVID-19 cases in the year.

NSW reported 14 deaths and 6,184 new infections, marking a further drop on the record low 6,686 reported on Sunday, although the hospitalizations rose slightly to 1,649.

The neighboring state Victoria also recorded its lowest daily cases for the year with 7,104 new infections and two deaths. There are currently 465 people in the hospital with the virus, down from the peak of more than 1,000 patients at the hospital at the end of January.

As the country's worst-hit state during the current outbreak, NSW's daily COVID-19 cases peaked at 92,264 on Jan 13 after the New Year and Christmas holidays and fluctuated around 10,000 cases at the beginning of February.

A teacher holds online classes for her students at one of the schools that have been shut down amid a surge in coronavirus infections at New Eskaton area in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Feb 1, 2022. (MAHMUD HOSSIAN OPU / AP)

Bangladesh

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Sunday that educational institutions will reopen at the end of February as the COVID-19 situation is expected to improve in the country.

Speaking virtually at a function at the International Mother Language Institute, Hasina said students were deprived of enjoying classroom learning and the company of friends, although online education was offered during the pandemic.

She said her government has taken measures to bring people of all levels and stages under the vaccination coverage to rein in the pandemic situation.

"We're expecting that the situation will change [improve] by the end of this month and then we can reopen educational institutions," she said.

On Feb 3, the Bangladeshi government announced that school closure will be extended till Feb 20 in an effort to halt the spread of COVID-19.

Earlier, the Bangladeshi Cabinet Division said schools, colleges and equivalent educational institutions will remain closed until Feb 6.

Brunei

Brunei reported 4,731 new COVID-19 cases from Feb 7 to Feb 13, a record weekly rise, after finishing the week with 936 cases on Sunday and bringing the national tally to 22,515.

As a country of about 420,000 population, Brunei's weekly rise of new cases is more than threefold from the previous week with 1,371 cases, which is also much higher than the last record high of 1,880 cases for the week from Oct 11 to Oct.17, 2021 during the second wave of the pandemic.

According to Brunei's Ministry of Health, the newly recorded cases on Sunday included 919 local infections and 17 import cases.

As of Feb 12, 94.9 percent of Brunei's population had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines, while 94.1 percent had completed their vaccination schedule of two doses and 46.0 percent had received three doses.

Cook Islands

Cook Islands, a small South Pacific nation that has not experienced COVID-19 in its community, is readying for its first coronavirus infections after an infected traveler visited, Prime minister Mark Brown said on Sunday.

The traveler from New Zealand spent eight days in the community and tested positive for Omicron upon returning home last week, Brown said in a video posted on the government's Facebook page.

"It is likely that the person ... was infectious while here and further likely that the virus is in our community," he said.

"It may be there is 'silent transmission', where our high vaccination rate is so protective that people get COVID but so mildly that they do not realize they have it.

Official data show that 99.6 percent of the island nation's roughly 17,000 people aged 12 and over is double-vaccinated, and 70 percent of those eligible have had their booster shots.

Cook Islands resumed quarantine-free travel with New Zealand a month ago, after shutting itself off from the world when the pandemic hit in early 2020.

In December, the country reported one case of COVID-19 in a person quarantining after arriving on a repatriation flight, who was not exposed to the community.

"The fact that we have a high percentage of our people vaccinated will give us substantial protection from serious illness," Brown said.

A policeman stands guard at the deserted wholesale Sadar Bazar market during a weekend lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus in New Delhi, India on Jan 15, 2022. (ALTAF QADRI / AP)

India

India's COVID-19 tally rose to 42,655,534 on Monday, as 34,113 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours across the country, showed the health ministry's latest data.

Besides, 346 deaths due to the pandemic since Sunday morning took the total death toll to 509,011.

Indonesia

Indonesia on Sunday confirmed 44,526 new COVID-19 cases, raising its tally of infections to 4,807,778, the country's Health Ministry said.

According to the ministry, the death toll from COVID-19 in the country rose by 111 to 145,176.

This undated image provided by Merck & Co shows their new antiviral medication. Pharmaceutical company Merck & Co said on Oct 1, 2021 that its experimental COVID-19 pill reduced hospitalizations and deaths by half in people recently infected with the coronavirus and that it would soon ask health officials in the US and around the world to authorize its use. (MERCK & CO VIA AP)

Japan

The Japanese unit of Merck & Co Inc said on Monday it would accelerate imports of its oral COVID-19 treatment to help with a surge in cases caused by the Omicron variant.

The company will deliver 800,000 courses of the antiviral molnupiravir to Japan by March, up from an earlier scheduled 600,000, it said in a statement.

Japan agreed last year to pay Merck and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics about $1.2 billion for 1.6 million courses of molnupiravir. The drug was approved by regulators in late December.

Malaysia

Malaysia reported 21,072 new COVID-19 infections as of midnight Sunday, bringing the national total to 3,040,235, according to the health ministry.

Data released on the ministry's website said 65 cases were imported, with 21,007 being local transmissions.

A further 11 deaths have been reported, bringing the death toll to 32,125.

Mongolia

Mongolian Prime Minister Luvsannamsrai Oyun-Erdene announced here on Monday that Mongolia would cancel a heightened state of readiness imposed in February 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Today, the Mongolian government made a decision to cancel the nationwide regime of heightened state of readiness. I would like to declare that Mongolia is now fully open to international traffic or tourism," Oyun-Erdene told a press conference.

All COVID-19 related restrictions have been lifted, except for wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing and good hygiene, he said, noting that the decision was made based on the country's infection rate, high vaccination coverage, and assessments and decisions by relevant authorities such as the Health Ministry and State Emergency Commission.

As of Monday, the Asian country has confirmed 457,925 total COVID-19 cases, with 2,074 related deaths.

So far, 66.8 percent of the country's population of 3.4 million has received two COVID-19 vaccine doses, while more than 1,014,100 people over 18 have received a third dose.

More than 90,000 Mongolians have received a fourth dose, which the country started to administer from Jan 7 on a voluntary basis.

Volunteers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) carry the body of a victim of the coronavirus to a cemetery in Hlegu Township in Yangon on July 10, 2021. (YE AUNG THU / AFP)

Myanmar

Myanmar has confirmed 1,473 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the tally in the country to 546,771 on Sunday, according to a release from the Ministry of Health.

The ministry said that 20,850 lab samples were tested on Sunday and the daily positivity rate is 7.06 percent.

The total death toll in the country remained at 19,310 as no new deaths from COVID-19 were reported in the past 24 hours, the release said.

Police keep a watch as people who oppose vaccine mandates gather near Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand on Feb 14, 2022. (MARK MITCHELL / NEW ZEALAND HERALD VIA AP)

New Zealand

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday she felt demonstrations against a COVID-19 vaccine mandate now entering their second week were an "imported" phenomenon, and nothing like anything she had seen before in the country.

Hundreds of protesters continue to occupy lawns in front of the distinctive 'Beehive' parliament for a seventh day, ignoring repeated calls by the police to leave and unflawed by drenching rain over the weekend.

Claiming inspiration from truckers' anti-vaccine mandate demonstrations in Canada, the protesters have also blocked several streets around parliament with their trucks, vans and motorcycles.

"It feels like an imported protest to me," Ardern told state broadcaster TVNZ in an interview.

"I've seen Trump flags on the forecourt, I've seen Canadian flags on the forecourt," she said, referring to images of former US president Donald Trump carried by some demonstrators as well as the situation in Canada.

Ardern said it appeared the protesters were not interested in a dialogue.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces the country will move to red traffic light setting as part of new COVID-19 restrictions during a press conference in Wellington on Jan 23, 2022. (MARK MITCHELL / NEW ZEALAND HERALD VIA AP)

"When you see signs calling for the execution of politicians that's not really a group that wants to engage in political dialogue," Ardern said.

The protests started as a stand against vaccine mandates but now have been joined by groups calling for an end to COVID-19 restrictions, rejecting vaccinations, as well as calling attention to other social issues like censorship and rights of the ethnic Maori community. At the protests' peak, thousands of demonstrators were estimated to be involved.

A country of five million people, New Zealand has some of the lowest COVID-19 numbers in the world, largely due tough coronavirus border curbs and social restrictions.

Daily Omicron variant cases have been rising, however, nearly touching 1,000 on Monday, as some domestic restrictions were eased this month.

The country's borders, however, are still closed with tens of thousands of expatriate New Zealanders cut off from families.

Singapore

Singapore's Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said on Monday it has granted an interim authorization for Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine.

The first batch of the Nuvaxovid vaccine is expected to arrive in Singapore in the next few months, the HSA said.

People wearing face masks pass by a banner reminding precautions against the coronavirus at a park in Seoul, South Korea on Jan 24, 2022. (AHN YOUNG-JOON / AP)

South Korea

South Korea will begin giving out fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of February and supply millions of additional home test kits to ease shortages amid a surge in Omicron infections, authorities confirmed on Monday.

The surge has pushed daily cases to records, but widespread vaccination, with first booster shots received by more than 57 percent of the population of 52 million, has helped limit deaths and serious infections.

High-risk groups will be the first to get the fourth dose, in effect a second booster shot, Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol told a COVID-19 response meeting.

"We’re planning to provide fourth shots to those who live in nursing homes and care facilities and others with declined immunization, in light of a recent increase of infections among people aged 60 or older," he said, according to a transcript.

At least 44.22 million people, or 86.2 percent of the population, are considered fully vaccinated. Sunday's 54,619 new cases took the tally of infections to 1,405,246, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

The death toll rose by 21 to 7,102.

Meanwhile, South Korea registered a total of more than 360,000 breakthrough COVID-19 infections in vaccinated people, the health authorities said.

The number of those who tested positive for COVID-19 after receiving two vaccine doses came in at 367,927 as of Feb 6, up from 282,018 a week earlier, according to the KDCA.

A woman (center) carries a refilled gas container in the center of the capital Nuku'alofa ahead of the country's first lockdown on Feb 2, 2022, after COVID-19 was detected in the previously virus-free Pacific kingdom as it struggles to recover from the deadly Jan 15 volcanic eruption and tsunami. (MARY LYN FONUA / MATANGI TONGA / AFP)

Tonga

Tonga reported 31 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total number of active cases in the South Pacific island nation to 139.

According to Tonga's news web Matangi Tonga Online, Tonga's Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni said at a press conference on Monday that the new cases tested positive over the weekend.

Of the active cases, 133 were reported in Tonga's main island of Tongatapu and six in Vava'u, an island group consisting of one large island and 40 smaller ones.

All the positive cases aged 12 years and above in Tonga had been fully vaccinated.

Vietnam

Vietnam recorded 29,413 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, the highest daily infections in the country since the beginning of the pandemic, up by 3,034 cases from Sunday, its ministry of health said.

The new infections, logged in 63 localities nationwide, included 29,403 domestically transmitted and 10 imported.

The Vietnamese capital Hanoi remained the locality with the highest number of infections on Monday, with 3,507 cases, followed by the northern Hai Duong province with 1,915 cases and the northern Hai Phong city with 1,489 cases.

The new infections brought the total tally to 2,540,273 with 39,037 deaths. Nationwide, as many as 2,232,947 COVID-19 patients, or 88 percent of the infections, have so far recovered.

More than 186 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including some 32 million third shots, have been administered in the Southeast Asian country, according to the ministry.

Vietnam has by far gone through four coronavirus waves of increasing scale, complication, and infectivity. As of Monday, it has registered over 2.5 million locally transmitted COVID-19 cases since the start of the current wave in late April 2021. 


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