New COVID-19 cases below 1,000, lowest since Nov. 4

THE Department of Health reported 934 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the lowest since November 4 when it recorded 987.

Prior to early November, the last time the daily case record below 1,000 was in mid-July.

The country now has a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) tally of 436,345.

An additional 63 deaths were recorded, bringing the total fatalities to 8,509. There were 148 new recoveries for a total of 399,457, the department said.

Active cases are at 28,379 or 6.5% of the total recorded cases.

Of the active cases, 85.4% were mild, 6.9% were asymptomatic, 4.9% critical, 2.5% severe, and 0.28% were moderate.

Meanwhile, local trials for COVID-19 vaccines will begin in January, according to the country’s vaccine panel.

“We may start by January, hopefully,” Department of Science and Technology Vaccine Expert Panel Chief Nina G. Gloriani said in a briefing Friday.

Five vaccine manufacturers applying for the conduct of phase 3 trials have submitted the initial requirements, to which the panel had already responded, according to Ms. Gloriani.

She added they are now waiting for the firms’ comments and other technical data such as results of phase 3 trials conducted abroad.

The five firms are: Sinovac Biotech Ltd., Clover Biopharmaceuticals, Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca plc.

“All of these vaccine developers are conducting their phase 3 trials and we want their interim data,” she said, noting that the panel prefers to see the technical dossier apart from the published results.

At the United Nations 31st Special Session on Friday morning, President Rodrigo R. Duterte pushed for the inclusion of poor and developing countries
in vaccine access as nations race to obtain limited supplies.

“Life-saving services and products must be made accessible to the most vulnerable: the most to the least,” he said at the virtual event.

“If any country is excluded by reason of poverty or strategic unimportance, this gross injustice will haunt the world for a long time,” he said. — Gillian M. Cortez

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