Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

The Philippines’ 40 percent positivity rate – a high for the third consecutive day – was driven by the Omicron variant.

The Philippines has reported at least 21,819 new COVID-19 infections, raising the country’s positivity rate to another 40 percent from 70,049 tests conducted since President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the arrest of unvaccinated people staying at – home orders aimed at combating “galloping” cases driven by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

With the latest number of infections on Friday, the country achieved a record high positivity rate for the third consecutive day, while the total case load since the pandemic approached three million. As of January 1, only 3,617 new cases had been reported.

There are now 77,369 active cases officially recorded in the country – the highest since October 17. Meanwhile, 129 new deaths have been reported bringing the official death toll to 51,871, although the actual number of deaths may be higher.

The majority of the cases reported were from the capital, Manila, and its surrounding cities and suburbs.

Health officials and independent experts have already warned that the infections are expected to increase further in the coming days and peak by the end of the month.

The sudden increase in cases forced Duterte on Thursday to order the arrest of unvaccinated people who violate stay-at-home orders, raising questions about the legality of the order.

“Because it is a national emergency, it is my position that we can restrain people who have not received their shots,” Duterte said in a pre-recorded message.

“I now give orders to the [village chiefs] to look for those people who have not been vaccinated and just ask them if they can, if you can, order them to stay. ”

“And if he refuses and leaves the house and goes around the community or maybe everywhere, he can be restrained. If he refuses then the [official] is in a position to arrest the rebellious persons, ”he added.

Coronavirus vaccinations are voluntary in the country of 110 million people, and less than half of the population has so far completed their stings.

Duterte said he was “upset” about the large numbers of Filipinos still vaccinated.

“If you do not get a stab, you are putting everyone at risk,” he said, with the virus “galloping in our community, in our country and in the world”.

The government relaxed the shutdowns in October last year, after coronavirus infections driven by the Delta variant reached a peak to revive the battered economy.

New infections declined to a few hundred a day just before Christmas, but increased again as families and friends gathered for the holidays.

Health experts say the new cases are driven by the highly portable Omicron variant.

Under the new stricter restrictions, which apply until mid-January, unvaccinated residents must stay home unless they buy or exercise necessities.

Restaurants, parks, churches and beauty salons will operate at lower capacity, while personal classes and contact sports will be suspended.

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