MANILA (UPDATED) — The Philippines recorded 1,803 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, bringing the total number of cases to 380,729, data from the health department showed.
This is the 15th straight day that the daily tally counted fewer than 3,000.
The province of Rizal led areas in the country that recorded the highest daily additional cases with 97 confirmed infections, followed by Davao City with 93 and Quezon City with 86 confirmed cases. Cavite and Pasig City followed with 66 and 65 new confirmed cases, respectively.
Cases of recoveries jumped by 606 over the previous day, the Department of Health (DOH) said in its latest bulletin. The total number of recoveries stood at 331,046
The country also recorded 36 new fatalities from the respiratory illness, taking the death toll to 7,221.
As of Saturday, the Philippines has 42,462 active infections, of which 94.6 percent of the patients are asymptomatic or exhibiting mild symptoms, DOH said.
The new cases do not include data from 12 laboratories that failed to submit results on time.
The DOH said that of the 19,057 people who were tested on Friday, 1,479, or 7.8%, tested positive for COVID-19.
A total of 7 duplicates were removed from the total tally, according to the health department.
PH records a total of 70,028 COVID-19 cases in October
ABS-CBN News Data Analytics head Edson Guido said the Philippines’ COVID-19 cases for October reached 70,028.
The cumulative COVID-19 cases for the month was 20,000 fewer than in September, and was almost half of the total cases logged in August, when the country reported 127,869 cases.
“October is a better month compared to August and September. But the lower number of tests from Philippine Red Cross is a factor,” he said.
PhilHealth and the PRC entered into an agreement in May, in which the latter was to conduct a massive COVID-19 testing program, charging PhilHealth P3,500 for each test.
The PRC, which later halted its COVID-19 testing services this month over PhilHealth's nonpayment, catered to about 26 percent or 1.15 million of the total coronavirus screenings done in the country.
On Saturday, the DOH said it is hopeful that the entire country would be able to shift to more lenient quarantine protocols by the first quarter of 2021, should local government units be able to sufficiently comply with standards on prevention, contact tracing and treatment.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the government has set milestones and "safeguard conditions," which would serve as a local government unit's metric to shift to modified general community quarantine — the most lenient of the 4 quarantine classifications in the government's pandemic response protocol.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier in the week announced that Metro Manila, the epicenter of the virus, along with 6 other areas remain under general community quarantine until the end of November.
The OCTA Research Group, composed of professors from University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas, estimates that COVID-19 cases in the Philippines will reach 380,000 to 410,000 by the end of this month.
According to the JHU COVID-19 dashboard, some 45.6 million people have been infected by the COVID-19 virus globally since the start of the pandemic. Of those, more than 1.1 million have died, and more than 29 million have recovered.