Manila, Dec 27 (IANS) The total number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines increased to 469,886 as 883 new cases were reported on Sunday, the lowest daily increase in more than five months.
Sunday's daily tally is the lowest since July 14 when the country reported 634 cases, reports Xinhua news agency.
The death toll spiked to 9,109 after 42 more patients died.
At least 7,635 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 438,678, the Department of Health said.
The government has adopted measures to mitigate the spread of a new coronavirus variant first detected in Britain that is now spreading in some countries.
President Rodrigo Duterte stressed the need to enhance surveillance to stop the new strain from reaching the Philippines.
Duterte said even if there is yet a recorded case of a new strain in the country, the government must be prepared through stricter border control, surveillance, and enhanced monitoring of cases in other countries.
"Surveillance is the key," he said in televised meeting late Saturday night.
"We cannot avoid the new strain but be prepared to confront the new virus if we know in advance how it will progress in coming into our country.
"We have to increase the surveillance and quarantine for Filipinos who are coming home," he added.
To prevent the new Covid-19 variant from entering the country, the Philippines has temporarily halted flights from Britain until mid-January and intensified travel health protocols for travellers.
Passengers coming from countries and regions with the new variant are required to complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine.