THE Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday, December 27, 2020, reported 883 newly confirmed coronavirus infections, a new low within a period of more than five months, as some private diagnostics laboratories shut down for the Christmas holidays and the number of patients who had themselves tested declined.

These new cases pushed the country’s total caseload closer to 470,000.

As of 4 p.m. Sunday, the DOH listed a total of 469,886 infections.

For the week from December 21 to 27, the total number of new infections reached 10,097, slightly lower than the 10,389 cases in the previous week from December 14 to 20.

The daily average of cases went down to 1,442 this week from 1,484 in the previous week.

There were only 7,635 recoveries on Sunday under the DOH’s time-based recovery strategy, which declares as recoveries those coronavirus-positive individuals who show no symptoms in more than 14 days.

The number of mass recoveries has been declining, with Sunday’s data lower by 5.5 percent than the 8,080 recoveries on December 20.

These numbers were also lower than the 9,269 recoveries on December 13.

The recoveries on Sunday increased the total to 438,678 and reduced the number of active cases to 22,099.

There were 42 additional mortalities from coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), raising the death toll to 9,109. The case fatality rate increased to 1.94 percent Sunday from 1.93 percent on Saturday.

New infections

The 883 new cases on Sunday were lower than the 934 cases reported on December 4, which was the lowest number of new infections in a day since July 15, 2020.

Of the new cases confirmed on Sunday, the highest came from Rizal (66), Quezon City (50), Benguet (47), Davao City (42) and Manila (35).

Quezon City topped the list four times in the past week and recorded a total of 764 new cases, followed by Rizal province with 584 cases.

In its case bulletin, the DOH said the decrease in cases over the holiday season is to be expected given the closure of many private laboratories and the lower number of patients served in those that remained open.

On Christmas Day, December 25, DOH said 148 laboratories were open, but 34 reported zero patients for the day while the rest reported a decrease in the number of patients.

Only 11,510 tests, less than half of the average number of tests on a regular day, were reported to have been conducted as of 12 noon of December 26. Of this number, 756 were found positive for Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

“We are strictly monitoring the output and operating schedules of the laboratories for the next two weeks,” the DOH said.

The department reminded local government units to continue contact tracing and case investigation efforts even during the holidays.

Globally, more than 1.75 million people had died from Covid-19 out of over 80.3 million who were infected, based on the tracker of the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. (Marites Villamor-Ilano with a report from HDT / SunStar Philippines)