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Philippines sees lowest amount of Covid-19 cases in nearly 8 weeks

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The Philippines’ health ministry on Monday reported 1,383 new coronavirus infections, its lowest number of new daily cases in nearly eight weeks.

The ministry said there were 15 new deaths, taking total COVID-19 fatalities to 3,890. The Philippines has the most coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia, with 238,727 confirmed cases.

Officials warned against complacency as the economy reopens.

“This challenge of COVID-19 could extend to next year. First of all, we cannot be complacent and ignore the threat,” Vivencio Dizon, who leads the government’s testing programme, told a news conference.

Only three-quarters of testing laboratories submitted results on Monday, however, less than the 82% average in the past week.

The Philippines from mid-March to June imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, during which new daily cases were reported in the low hundreds. But infections started soaring soon after, as authorities eased restrictions in a bid to revive the country’s troubled economy.

The capital and nearby provinces are still under coronavirus restrictions until end-September, limiting the movement of non-essential personnel and banning social gatherings to prevent more infections. International travel and movement between regions remains restricted.

“We are in the process of flattening the curve but this process can easily be reversed,” Ranjit Rye, a University of the Philippines professor and part of a research group whose projections and recommendations have guided the government’s lockdown measures.

“The government should not overestimate this achievement and underestimate the virus,” Rye told Reuters, adding that the improvement in testing, contact tracing and isolation should continue.

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