MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines' COVID-19 infections crossed 300,000 Saturday, official figures showed, even as authorities and experts noted a downtrend in cases.
In a bulletin, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 2,727 new COVID-19 cases, the fifth straight day the country registered less than 3,000 cases. The nationwide caseload stood at 301,256.
Fatalities due to the respiratory illness have also increased to 5,284, up 88 from the previous count.
Cases of recoveries also jumped by 787 over the previous day, the health ministry said. Those who were given a clean bill of health were 232,906.
To date, some 63,066 patients are currently ill with the virus, tagged by DOH as active cases. Majority of them or 87.3 percent are exhibiting mild symptoms.
According to the health ministry, many of Saturday's additional cases -- or 1,115 -- were from Metro Manila, which remained the country's epicenter of the crisis.
The rest of new coronavirus infections were from Negros Occidental (196), Cavite (153), Laguna (112) and Cebu (107).
The DOH also said 852 duplicates were removed from the total case count, of which 259 were tagged as recoveries.
Some 21 cases previously reported as recoveries turned out to be deaths after final validation, it added.
The agency previously explained that the discrepancy was due to the continuing validation process, in which some cases could be duplicates or erroneous entries.
As of Sept. 24, the Philippines tested 3.3 million individuals for the novel coronavirus, of whom 346,840 yielded positive results.
The DOH had also said that positive results still undergo validation because some could be repeat tests.
Since the pandemic began, the country's coronavirus tally first crossed the 100,000-mark on Aug. 2. It swelled to 200,000 infections on Aug. 26 and surpassed 300,000 a month later.
The Philippines still has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia, followed by Indonesia and Singapore.
According to US-based Johns Hopkins University's running tally, more than 32.5 million cases of the disease have been recorded globally.
Over 988,000 people have succumbed to the disease while more than 22.4 million people have recovered from COVID-19, which first emerged from Wuhan City in China's Hubei province. - With a report from ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team