MANILA (UPDATE) — The Philippines logged 9,296 additional COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the 5th straight day that new infections exceeded 9,000, raising the country's total to 741,181.
Its 124,680 active cases, which account for 16.8 percent of the cumulative total, is the highest recorded in a single day since the pandemic started.
The day's number of new cases is the 5th highest daily tally in the country. It does not include data from 9 laboratories that were unable to submit their test results on time.
With 5 additional fatalities recorded, the death toll went up to 13,191.
The number of recovered patients increased by 103 to 603,310.
Of the active cases, 96% have mild symptoms, 2.3% are asymptomatic, 0.39% have moderate symptoms, 0.7% have severe symptoms, and 0.6% are in critical condition.
There were 9 cases, 5 tagged as recoveries, that were removed from the official tally because of duplicate entries.
One case, classified as recovered, turned out to be a fatality after validation.
Edson Guido, head of the ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team, said the Philippines is now reporting a daily average of more than 9,000 cases in the past week, which is the highest in the Southeast Asian region.
The 6 highest daily tally of additional COVID-19 cases all happened in the last 6 days, Guido said.
The 57,000 total cases logged in the last 6 days is higher than the monthly total of each of the previous 4 months, he said. For November 2020 up to February 2021, the total number of cases per month ranged from 42,000 to almost 52,000.
Metro Manila and its four surrounding provinces have been placed on enhanced community quarantine beginning Monday until April 4 to curb the alarming rise in new coronavirus infections.
Based on DOH data as of March 28, the ICU bed occupancy nationwide is at 58.13% or within the safe level. However, this rate is already at 76.18% or at high risk for Metro Manila hospitals.
The DOH previously said that it is working to free up hospitals, especially those with a relatively large percentage of mild cases admitted.
The OCTA Group told reporters on Tuesday afternoon that there has been a slight decrease in the reproduction number of COVID-19 for Metro Manila.
From a reproduction number of 2.05 from March 16 to 22, it went down to 1.86 from March 23 to 29. A reproduction number of 2 means that the virus is able to spread to 2 people from 1 infected person.
“There is a genuine decrease in R (reproduction number),” said OCTA Group Fellow Guido David. However, he said it does not mean a decline in cases but just a slowing down in the increase of cases or the spread of the disease.
Officials and analysts attributed the spike in cases this month to the presence of more transmissible COVID-19 variants, the increased mobility of people after the gradual reopening of the economy, and the public's non-compliance with health protocols.
There are almost 52.5 million people currently infected with COVID-19 worldwide. Since the start of the pandemic, almost 127.7 million people have contracted the disease, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard. Of those, almost 2.8 million have died and 72.4 million have recovered.
The Philippines confirmed its first COVID-19 case on Jan. 30 last year in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged in late 2019.
Rollout of COVID-19 vaccines began in the country early this month.