SM Supermalls partnered with local government units to host vaccination sites in its 71 malls. -- Courtesy of SM Supermalls

The number of coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country is continuing to drop but this does not mean people can let their guard down, a health official said.

“Based on our latest data, the cases of COVID-19 in the country continue to go down,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire said in Filipino in an online news briefing on Friday.

The national average daily cases this week is 45% lower than the previous week’s figures, she added. This is the reason the risk case classification was lowered from critical to moderate.

The Department of Health (DoH) posted 8,564 coronavirus infections in its health bulletin on Friday, bringing the total number of cases since the pandemic was declared in early 2020 to 3.59 million.

The death toll hit 54,214 after 46 more patients died, while recoveries rose by 10,474 to 3.39 million, the health department said.

Despite the downturn in the number of cases, Ms. Vergeire urged the public to continue getting vaccinated, especially their booster doses and pediatric vaccinations.

“We are committed to protecting our children through pediatric vaccination, so we are encouraging parents to register their children aged five to 11 years old with their local governments or vaccination centers in their area,” she said.


Citing global data, Ms. Vergeire said that out of the 8.7 million vaccinated children vaccinated worldwide, 97.6% did not experience adverse effects following immunization. Most of the aftereffects were mild — pain in the injected area or a headache that would subside within two to three days. There have been no deaths.

The health undersecretary also gave an update on the country’s pediatric vaccination roll-out. She said the delivery of Pfizer BioNTec vaccines has been delayed due to logistical concerns. They are expected to arrive this evening.

Children whose jabs were scheduled on Feb. 4 will have their vaccinations rescheduled on Feb. 5, those scheduled on Feb. 5 will be moved to Feb. 8, and those scheduled to get their shots on Feb. 7 and 8 have been rescheduled to Feb. 9.

“Despite delays, we encourage parents and the LGUs (local government units) to continue facilitation of registration in their respective local governments to ensure continuous roll-out once it begins,” Ms. Vergeire said.

Vaccination for the young is not mandatory, she clarified. “This is based on what you and your children want. Informed consent is required for all.”

Policies for the unvaccinated, she added, are implemented to protect the vulnerable population – the old, the sick, and the children, against COVID-19.


The health department said 24.3% of the 37,932 COVID-19 test samples taken on Feb. 4 were found positive for COVID-19, still far above the 5% threshold set by the World Health Organization.

Of the 151,389 active cases, 6,522 did not show symptoms, 139,940 were mild, 3,107 were moderate, 1,500 were severe and 320 were critical.

The DoH said 77% of the latest cases occurred from Jan. 22 to Feb. 4. The top regions with new cases in the past two weeks were the National Capital Region with 907, Western Visayas with 782, and the Davao region with 753.

It added that 57% of new deaths occurred in February, 39% in January, and 4% in October.

It said 23 duplicates had been removed from the tally, 14 of which were recoveries, while 19 recoveries were relisted as deaths. Six laboratories failed to submit data on Feb. 2.

The agency said 44% of intensive care unit beds in the country were being used, while the rate for Metro Manila was 38%. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan