The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines reported on Thursday 1,590 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the Southeast Asian country's total tally to 531,699.
The death toll climbed to 10,997 after 55 more patients died from the coronavirus epidemic, the DOH said. It added that 249 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 487,927.
DOH data showed that 84 healthcare workers have succumbed to the viral disease. It said at least 14,466 medical workers, mostly nurses, and physicians, contracted the virus.
The Philippines, which has about 110 million population, has tested over 7.4 million people since the disease emerged in January last year.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the allotment of 362 million pesos (roughly 7.5 million U.S. dollars) to strengthen the government's genomic surveillance amid the emerging fast-spreading COVID-19 variants, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.
"The DOH will be mobilizing resources and investing in genomic biosurveillance, which will strengthen and improve our overall COVID-19 response," he told a virtual press conference.
Citing the DOH, Nograles said the genomic biosurveillance is a critical input for the national vaccine deployment program. "A better understanding of the virus and its mutations will enable the government to implement a more responsive vaccination program," he said.
He said increasing awareness of the mutated strains would help the government execute other existing health interventions and prepare for future pandemics.
The Philippines has detected 17 cases of the new variant first found in Britain.
Aside from the variant found in Britain, the DOH is also closely monitoring other coronavirus variants found in South Africa and other countries. (/Xinhua)
( With inputs from ANI )
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