MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines on Wednesday confirmed 4,353 more COVID-19 cases, just as the health department categorized the capital region as now a low-risk area for infection.
According to the Department of Health's (DOH) latest bulletin, the country now has 1,372,232 total COVID-19 infections, of which 49,862 or 3.6 percent are active cases.
The ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group said this is the 2nd straight day that new cases counted fewer than 5,000.
It also pointed out that the number of patients still battling the disease is the lowest since May 27 this year, when DOH logged 48,007 active cases.
The number of active cases has been adjusted for duplicates.
The positivity rate, meanwhile, is at 11.4 percent, based on the results of 33,413 individuals who underwent testing for the virus last Monday, June 21.
There were 119 additional fatalities, raising the country's death toll to 23,928.
The day's deaths included 74 cases first classified as recoveries, the agency noted.
The DOH said the case fatality rate is at 1.74 percent.
A total of 7,139 more people recovered from COVID-19, the highest in 3 days, bringing the total number of recoveries to 1,298,442, which is 94.6 percent of the country's cumulative total cases.
Fifteen duplicate cases have been excluded from the running tally, 12 of which were found to be recoveries.
Six laboratories failed to submit data on time, the DOH said.
Health experts in the country and abroad are raising the alarm on the more infectious Delta COVID-19 variant, first detected in India, which is so far becoming the world's dominant variant, according to the World Health Organization.
Edsel Salvaña, a public health expert, said the Delta variant can infect people even just by "fleeting contact," citing a preliminary study from Australia.
Experts had maintained that COVID-19 can be contracted after 15 minutes of close contact with an infected individual, but this new variant seems different.
This is the reason why the use face shields and face masks should remain intact, Salvaña said.
India's health ministry, meanwhile, also warned of the "Delta plus" variant, which showed increased transmissibility.
With the developments, experts urge the government to ramp up its vaccination drive.
Based on ABS-CBN News' monitoring, the government has so far administered more than 8.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, of which 6.253 million are considered first shots.
Nearly 2.154 million Filipinos, meanwhile, are fully vaccinated against the disease, comprising 3.71 percent of the government's minimum 58 million target this year.