The Philippines on Wednesday has reported over 32,000 new COVID-19 cases, the health department said.
In a statement, it said 32,246 COVID-19 infections were confirmed, pushing the national tally to 3.058 million since the pandemic began in December 2019. With 144 more virus-related fatalities, the death toll has risen to 52,654.
To stem the further spread of the virus, the transport department has imposed a travel ban on unvaccinated people on public transport across the capital Manila region.
“All concerned attached agencies and sectoral offices of the Department of Transportation are directed to make sure the operators of public transportation shall allow access or issue tickets only to fully vaccinated persons.” The notification read.
Almost 52.8 million people and over 48% of the Philippines’ estimated total population of 110 million, have been vaccinated.
Just last week, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the arrest of unvaccinated people who violated stay-at-home orders. Unvaccinated residents in Manila and several provinces have been asked to stay at home unless buying essentials or exercise.
The government loosened restrictions last October, but infections have now increased as families and friends got together for the holiday season. Experts have said the new cases are driven by the highly contagious omicron variant.