MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday reported 1,438 additional COVID-19 cases, raising the Philippines' total to 434,357.
The daily tally does not include data from 11 laboratories that failed to submit their results on time.
The areas with the most number of new infections are Davao City with 142, Laguna with 89, Quezon City with 80, Manila City with 63, and Pampanga with 58.
Davao City is among the areas being monitored by the DOH due to the continued increase in COVID-19 cases and the high occupancy rate of its COVID hospital wards.
With 232 newly-recovered patients and 18 additional COVID-related fatalities, the country's total recoveries and death toll stood at 399,005 and 8,436, respectively.
The 26,916 active cases account for 6.2 percent of the country's total recorded infections.
Of those still ill, 84.7% have mild symptoms, 7.1% are asymptomatic, 5.2% are in critical condition, 2.7% have severe symptoms, and 0.29% have moderate symptoms.
Six cases, 3 tagged as recovered, were removed from the official tally as they were found to be duplicate entries.
There were also 6 cases classified as recovered that turned out to be deaths.
Before Sunday’s 2,076 newly-reported cases, the country was logging fewer than 2,000 new patients for more than half a month.
Both the DOH and the OCTA Research Group said there is an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the past weeks due to the crowding of people in evacuation centers following the recent typhoons, and the increased interaction among people because of the upcoming holidays.
The OCTA Research Group estimates that if the trend continues, the Philippines' cumulative total of cases might reach 500,000 by the end of the year.
The country's first COVID-19 case was confirmed on Jan. 30. It involved a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged late last year.
President Rodrigo Duterte has placed Metro Manila, Batangas, Iloilo City, Tacloban City, Lanao del Sur, Iligan City, Davao City, and Davao del Norte under general community quarantine (GCQ) until the end of the year to control the spread of COVID-19.
The rest of the country are under modified GCQ, which has the least restrictions among the four-level lockdown system being implemented since the pandemic began.
The Philippines' vaccine czar said Wednesday that the country is "trying hard" to secure its own share of the COVID-19 vaccine candidates from its "diplomatic friends" as rich nations have cornered around four-fifths of the vaccines' projected supply.
In an executive order, Duterte has allowed the country's Food and Drug Administration to issue emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccines and drugs, his spokesman said, allowing said products approved by countries where they were developed to be used locally after 21 days, down from the current required 6-month verification.
On Wednesday, Britain became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use and said that it will be rolled out from early next week.
Since the start of the pandemic, almost 63.9 million people have been infected by the COVID-19 virus across the world, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard. Of those, 1.48 million have died and 41 million have recovered.
- with report from Reuters