MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines confirmed 3,276 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday bringing the country’s total to 594,412.
This marked the 3rd straight day of more than 3,000 cases--the first time it happened since September 18-20 last year.
The Department of Health also reported 10,516 new recoveries pushing the total number of Filipinos who recovered from the disease to 545,853.
This meant that the country has a total of 36,043 active cases as of 4 p.m. Sunday.
Fifty one more deaths were reported from the illness, bringing COVID-19’s death toll in the Philippines to 12,516.
OCTA Research Group on Sunday said the increase in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila in the past week is higher than the surge in infections in the region last year that prompted the imposition of a strict lockdown in August.
In the first 7 days of March, the National Capital Region recorded over 7,000 new cases.
Several new and more infectious variants of the novel coronavirus have emerged. One variant, which was first reported in the United Kingdom, has spread to the Philippines.
The DOH has also confirmed two mutations of the SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, in Central Visayas.
Another variant from South Africa, has drawn concern from scientists as vaccines seem to be less effective against it.
The Philippine General Hospital, the country’s largest COVID-19 referral medical center, said that "one of 30 anonymized samples" from the facility was found to have the South African variant of the disease.
The country’s first COVID-19 case was a 38-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan, China, which was confirmed by the DOH on Jan. 30, last year.
The pandemic has already caused the Philippines to plunge into its worst economic contraction since World War 2.
Worldwide, the novel coronavirus has infected more than 116.5 million people and caused over 2.58 million deaths since it was first reported in Wuhan, China in late 2019 according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
The United States remains the most badly affected country with over 28.95 million infections and over 524,000 deaths.
India follows the US with 11.2 million infections. Brazil ranks third with 10.9 million infections but is second in terms of deaths with over 264,000 COVID-19 fatalities.