MANILA (UPDATED) — The Philippines on Wednesday recorded its highest number of active COVID-19 cases since October 24 last year at 44,470, which is 7.4 percent of the country's cumulative total cases, data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed.
The DOH reported 2,886 additional coronavirus infections, pushing the total to 603,308 as vaccinations against the disease continue for the second week.
Five laboratories failed to submit their results on time.
The number of additional daily cases in recent weeks has been higher than those reported in January and February. The increase has been attributed to the spread of COVID-19 in the National Capital Region.
On Oct. 24, 2020, the DOH announced that out of the 367,819 cumulative total cases at that time, 47,773 (nearly 13 percent) are active infections.
Of those currently battling the disease, 91.7% have mild symptoms, 4% are asymptomatic, 1.7% are in critical condition, 1.7% have severe symptoms, and 0.8% have moderate symptoms.
The DOH also announced 17 new COVID-related deaths, or a total of 12,545 fatalities, which accounts for 2.08% percent of the cumulative total cases.
There are also 221 new recovered patients, or a total of 546,293 recoveries.
Four cases, 2 tagged as recovered, were removed from the official tally for being duplicate entries.
The Philippines, which started last week its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, has been seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, especially in some parts of the NCR and Region 7.
The World Health Organization said this is not considered a second wave but a spike in the ongoing wave that started last year.
The OCTA Group said daily tally of cases can reach 6,000 by the end of March if the trend continues. The group also suggested that the surge may be affected by the more transmissible variants detected in Metro Manila and other areas.
However, both the WHO and the DOH previously said that majority of the new cases are not from transmissible variants and are therefore mostly due to non-compliance to health protocols.
Dr. John Wong, a member of the Inter-Agency Task Force’s technical working group on data analytics, also said on Wednesday that if variants are allowed to spread in the country, cases may increase 9-fold.
Experts have assured the public, however, that those vaccinated can still be protected from severe symptoms despite reports that variants can lessen the effectivity of COVID-19 vaccines.
There are more than 48.4 million people currently infected with COVID-19 worldwide. Since the start of the pandemic, 117.6 million people have contracted the disease, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard. Of those, 2.6 million have died and almost 66.7 million have recovered.