HEALTH protocol reminders are posted at the entrance of a public school building in Quezon City, Metro Manila. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter

PHILIPPINE health authorities reported 356 new coronavirus infections on Monday, the lowest daily tally since July 2 last year, bringing the total to 2.84 million.   

The death toll hit 49,591 after 92 more patients died, while recoveries increased by 871 to 2.77 million, it said.

Of the 92 reported deaths, 18% occurred in November, the agency said.

There were 13,026 active cases, 899 of which did not show symptoms, 5,314 were mild, 3,900 were moderate, 2,326 were severe, and 587 were critical.

It said 26% of intensive care units in the Philippines were occupied, while the rate for Metro Manila was 29%.

The Health department said six duplicates were removed from the tally, six of which were reclassified as recoveries, while 87 recoveries were relisted as deaths. 

It added that 159 patients had tested negative and were removed from the tally. Of these, 157 were recoveries.

Two laboratories did not operate on Dec. 5, while six laboratories failed to submit data.

The Philippines’ ranking in a global index that measured the recovery of more than 100 countries from the coronavirus pandemic has improved, after the Southeast Asian country managed to contain a spike in infections fueled by the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant. 

The country jumped 46 notches in the latest COVID-19 recovery ranking by Tokyo-based news magazine Nikkei Asia, ranking 57th from 103rd previously.

The Philippines shared the 57th spot with Tajikistan, Norway, and Malaysia.

Nikkei said in a report that the Philippines’ ranking improved due to a “significant increase in its infection management scores.”

But while the country’s infection numbers had dropped from the peak recorded in September, its short-term case fatality rate was over 9%, which is the second-highest in the world, the report said.

The Philippines ranked 121st in September, 106th in August, and 108th in July.

In the latest report, Bahrain topped the list, followed by Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Malta, Taiwan, and China.

In the last five spots are Belgium, Aruba and Papua New Guinea, Georgia and Vietnam, Barbados, Burkina Faso, and Laos.

“The latest Nikkei ranking is a clear indication that we have successfully contained the highly transmissible Delta variant,” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles told a televised news briefing.

“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel but the only way that we can get to the end is if we continue to carefully watch our steps,” he added.