COVID-19: Philippines sees 43% rise in deaths in 2021

A man shops for face masks in Divisoria, a local shopping district in Manila on May 17, 2022. (JAM STA ROSA / AFP)

HANOI / MANILA / SINGAPORE / YANGON – The Philippines recorded the highest number of deaths in a single year in 2021 at 879,429, a 43 percent year-on-year increase mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a government commission said on Wednesday.

Citing Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data, the Commission on Population and Development said that "in normal years," the rise in deaths is only at around 1 to 5 percent.

Before the 2021 death statistics, the Philippines recorded the highest number of annual deaths in 2019 at 620,414, with nearly 1,700 cases daily. In 2021, there were over 2,400 deaths every day.

For 2021, the crude death rate, or the ratio of deaths occurring within a year to the mid-year population expressed per 1,000 population, was estimated at 8.02 per 1,000 Filipinos, a sharp rise from the rate of 5.6 per 1,000 in 2020.

"It took 20 years for the crude death rate to go up by 1 per thousand from 2000 when it was 4.8, to 2019 when it climbed to 5.8," said Undersecretary for Population and Development Juan Antonio Perez, the commission's executive director.

Perez added that the last time the Philippines had a high crude death rate was in 1958, at 8.4 per 1,000 population.

Besides COVID-19, Perez said other diseases also claimed more lives, including heart attacks, up by 29.7 percent; cerebrovascular disease or strokes, up by 15.3 percent; diabetes, up by 21 percent; and hypertension, up by 31.5 percent.

The Philippines reported 1,750 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 3,896,541.

The Department of Health said the number of active cases dipped to 22,889, while 49 more patients died from COVID-19 complications, pushing the country's death toll to 62,167.

A woman receives a shot of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine in Yangon, Myanmar, Aug 29, 2021. (PHOTO / XINHUA)


Myanmar confirmed 223 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the tally to 616,023, according to the Ministry of Health on Wednesday.

The health ministry said in a statement that these cases included 14 infected people who returned from abroad.

It added that health authorities tested 9,808 people for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, and the daily positivity rate was 2.27 percent.

The death toll from COVID-19 in the country remained unchanged at 19,442 as no new deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, the ministry said.

Singapore Airlines stewardesses walk past a giant lollipop candy display at Changi International Airport in Singapore on April 1, 2022, as Singapore reopened its land and air borders to travelers fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. (ROSLOAN RAHMAN / AFP)


Singapore reported 2,271 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total tally to 1,852,286.

Of the new cases, 244 cases were detected through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests and 2,027 through ART (antigen rapid test) tests, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Health.

Among the PCR cases, 218 were local transmissions and 26 were imported cases. Among the ART cases with mild symptoms and assessed to be of low risk, there were 1,853 local transmissions and 174 imported cases.

Five deaths were reported from COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total death toll to 1,601, the ministry said.  

Passengers wait for transportation outside the arrival hall of Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on March 15, 2022, as Vietnam announced the return of a visa exemption policy for 13 countries in an effort to kickstart its tourism sector. (NHAC NGUYEN / AFP)


Vietnam recorded 3,878 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, up by 179 from Tuesday, according to its ministry of health.

All the new cases were locally transmitted, said the ministry.

The newly reported infections brought the total tally to 11,428,632. The country reported two new deaths from the pandemic in the northern Cao Bang province and the southern Tay Ninh province on Wednesday, bringing the total fatalities to 43,125.