The Philippines now has 616,611 confirmed COVID-19 cases after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 5,000 additional cases on Saturday, March 13.
This is the highest number of new cases recorded in over 6 months, or since August 26, 2020, when the daily recorded cases reached 5,277. The highest daily figure ever recorded was 6,958 cases, on August 10.
Of the total 616,611 cases, 56,679 are active or still sick. This is the highest since October 3, when the total active cases in the country hit 58,606.
The DOH also reported 72 new deaths due to COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 12,766. Meanwhile, recoveries are up by 281, raising the total to 547,166.
The DOH said that these figures exclude data from 7 labs that were not able to submit on Friday, March 12.
On the same day cases surged to a nearly 7-month high, the DOH confirmed the detection of a new COVID-19 variant found in the Philippines called P3. The Philippines now has 98 reported cases of this virus type, but the DOH said it is not identified as a "variant of concern" yet based on currently available data.
On Saturday, the DOH also reported the country's first case of the highly transmissible Brazil variant of COVID-19 called P1, which can re-infect people who previously recovered from COVID-19. Experts said it emerged in Brazil and has now been found in at least 20 countries.
The other variants detected in the country are the United Kingdom (UK) variant and the South African variant. As of Saturday, the DOH reported a total of 177 cases of the more contagious UK variant of COVID-19, and another 90 cases of the South African variant.
In its report released on Friday, the Octa Research Group said that daily COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila could leap past 4,000 by end-March due to the faster spread of COVID-19 in the region. Metro Manila mayors imposed uniform curfew hours for two weeks, from 10 pm to 5 am, starting Monday, March 15. – Rappler.com