78 more deaths raise toll to 6,449


    FOR the second straight day, less than 2,000 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases were reported by the Department of Health (DOH) but there were 78 more deaths, raising the number of fatalities to 6,449.

    In its latest bulletin yesterday, the DOH said that of the 1,910 new cases, 624 came from the National Capital Region while Cavite reported 219, Batangas 104, Rizal 91, and Negros Occidental 63.

    Overall, the number of infections in the country rose to 346,536.

    Majority of the new deaths were recorded in NCR with 35. Other deaths were reported from CALABARZON 12, Central Luzon 7, and Northern Mindanao 6.

    There were 579 new recoveries, meaning the number of survivors has reached 293,860.

    The DOH advised those who have recovered from the deadly virus not to be complacent, with Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire saying there is no “immunity passport” for COVID survivors.

    “We know that there are indeed incidents of people who were COVID-19 positive before and have been positive once again,” she said in a virtual press briefing.

    “We all know there is no immunity passport. There is evidence that if you already had COVID-19, it doesn’t mean you won’t have it again,” added Vergeire.

    She, however, could not say what will happen to persons who would be reinfected, adding this remains under assessment by disease experts.

    Vergeire said this is because majority of cases are still anecdotal evidences at best.

    “As to the severity, there is a need for more information if it is more severe in the second infection. We need to study several aspects in this matter in order to give accurate information to the public,” she said.

    “We are asking for data in different areas where there are such experiences. These are all experiential. It still has to be completed for them to become official studies,” Vergeire added.

    Nine more overseas Filipinos have been infected with the deadly virus, raising the number of Pinoys in 80 countries who have tested positive to 11,117, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

    One new death was also reported, bringing the death toll to 811. The DFA also said 7,172 have already recovered.

    The Middle East and African regions remained as the deadliest place for Filipinos infected with the virus with 529 deaths, followed by the Americas with 178, Europe with 95 and 9 in the Asia Pacific region.

    The Middle East and Africa also had the highest number of confirmed cases among overseas Filipinos with 7,356, followed by Asia and the Pacific with 1,742, Europe with 1,209 and 810 in the Americas.

    In a related development, the Australian Embassy in Manila said seven Filipino crew members of the Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier Vega Dream ship in Port Hedland have tested positive for the virus. It said Australian authorities are coordinating with Manila on this development.

    “Like other countries, Australia has regulations to ensure COVID-safe practices for the maritime industry. This applies to all international voyages and maritime crew entering Australia other than cruise ships,” the embassy said.

    The vessel is currently anchored off the Port of Hedland Coast.

    The DFA has yet to issue a statement on this development. – With Ashzel Hachero