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Marcos tests positive for COVID-19

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has tested positive for COVID-19, Malacañang has said.

According to the Presidential Communications Office, Marcos remains fit to carry out his duties and will be continuing his scheduled meetings via teleconference.

"Upon medical advice, he will observe a period of isolation for five day,"  the PCO said.

"Updates on his health will be provided as available," it added.

The PCO said Marcos encouraged the public over the holiday season "to take precautions to safeguard their health, such as vaccinating and voluntary mask-wearing when entering crowded places."

He also tested positive for COVID-19 in July 2022, just days after his inauguration on June 30 that year. 

Then Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said the President had a slight fever but was otherwise okay.

Marcos also caught the COVID-19 virus during the first stages of the pandemic in March 2020.

He caught the illness after traveling to Europe. At that time, his camp said that Marcos visited a hospital because he was having breathing problems.

During his inaugural speech on June 30, 2022 Marcos briefly discussed his COVID-19 experience.

"I was among the first to get COVID; it was not a walk in the park," the President said.

Highest in 19 weeks

The Philippines recorded 1,340 new coronavirus cases from November 28 to December 4, 2023, the highest number of fresh infections in 19 weeks, data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed.

Based on the latest DOH weekly bulletin, the new COVID-19 infections in the recent week were 10% higher than the 1,218 cases monitored from November 21 to November 27, 2023.

It also marks the fourth straight week of increasing COVID-19 cases and the fourth straight week of over 1,000 new weekly cases, according to GMA News Research.

Meanwhile, the average daily cases for the recent week was 191 — also a 10% increase from the 174 average daily case rate in the previous week.

This is the 19th straight week of more than 100 but less than 200 daily new cases and the fourth straight week of more than 150 average daily.

Of the new weekly cases, the DOH said 11 were tagged as severe or critical cases.

No COVID-19-related fatalities were verified during the recent week.

Meanwhile, 253, or 10.1% of the total COVID-19 admissions were in severe and critical conditions. At least 11.6% or 158 out of 1,361 ICU beds were used while 17.5% or 2,037 out of 11,624 non-ICU beds were currently utilized.

Healthcare utilization is still in the low-risk zone.

Public emergency lifted

Marcos in July 2023 lifted the State of Public Health Emergency throughout the Philippines due to COVID-19 through Proclamation No. 297.

"All prior orders, memoranda, and issuances that are effective only during the State of Public Health Emergency shall be deemed withdrawn, revoked or canceled and shall no longer be in effect," read the President’s proclamation. 

"All EUA (emergency use authorization) issued by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) pursuant to Executive Order (EO) No. 121 (s. 2020) shall remain valid for a period of one year from the date of lifting of the State of Public of Public Health Emergency for the sole purposes of exhausting the remaining vaccines," it added. 

Marcos also enjoined all agencies to ensure that their policies take into consideration the lifting of the State of Public Health Emergency and to amend existing or promulgate new issuances, as may be appropriate.  —NB, GMA Integrated News