MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - The Philippines again recorded the highest daily rise of newly-confirmed COVID-19 cases in over 4 months on Saturday with 2,921 new infections, raising the country's total number of infections to 574,247.
This is the 3rd-straight day that new cases exceeded 2,000, but it does not include data from 6 laboratories that failed to submit results on time, according to the Department of Health (DOH).
The day's figure is also considered the highest daily tally since Oct. 16, when the country recorded 3,132 new infections, data showed.
Recoveries went up by 293 while fatalities due to the disease also increased by 42, according to the health department.
Active cases, meanwhile, reached 37,093, as the country recorded a total of 524,865 recoveries and 12,289 COVID-19-related deaths.
ABS-CBN Data Analytics Head Edson Guido pointed out that the number of active infections on Saturday is considered the highest since Oct. 31 last year.
Out of the 23,011 people who got tested for the virus, some 1,797 or 7.8 percent yielded positive for COVID-19.
A duplicate, meanwhile, has been removed from the total tally, the DOH noted.
Some 9 cases initially tagged as a recovery were reclassified as fatalities after the agency's final examination.
Over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases came from NCR
A total of 1,019 new cases came from the capital region, Guido said. This is the highest number of daily infections in the region since Oct. 12 last year, he added.
Some 681 newly recorded cases, according to Guido, came from Central Visayas, the region's highest single-day tally since July 30.
Cebu City, meanwhile, led the areas in the country in terms of fresh cases with 239. It was followed by Pasay City with 170, Cebu with 159, Lapu-Lapu City with 152, Malabon with 150, and Manila City with 120.
The OCTA Research Group, an independent research unit that provides analysis on the country's COVID-19 situation, early Saturday said the spread of new COVID-19 variants may be a factor in the surge of cases in Metro Manila.
The reproduction rate (R) for Metro Manila is currently at 1.43 percent, with around 900 infections daily, the group said.
The R value measures the average number of people who get the disease from an infected person. An R value above 1 can lead to exponential growth.
Following current trends, it is possible for Metro Manila to have 2,500 daily cases by the end of March unless cases are curbed, according to researcher Guido David.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, meanwhile, said the recent surge in cases could be due to looser quarantine restrictions and the localities' COVID-19 response, some of which still implement home quarantine setups.
Government announced on Saturday that Metro Manila and 9 other areas would remain under general community quarantine throughout March, while the rest of the country will be under modified GCQ, the lowest restriction level.
It also eased travel protocol across provinces and cities, removing mandatory quarantine and testing requirements, among others.