Metro Manila — The Department of Health on Tuesday announced 1,524 new COVID-19 cases in the country, along with the highest single-day rise in deaths since October 8.
The total number of infected rose to 491,258, of which 23,532 or 4.8% are active cases.
The DOH said Davao City saw the highest increase with 137, followed by Quezon City with 109, Rizal with 92, Davao del Norte with 53, and Cebu City with 51.
Meanwhile, the death toll surged to 9,554 after 139 more deaths were confirmed. The DOH said 78 of this number were previously reported as recoveries and were corrected as deaths after final validation.
Another 44 survivors were also added to the recovery count, which rose to 458,172.
The DOH said six testing laboratories failed to submit data on time and were not yet included in the latest figures. It added that two duplicate cases were removed from the total tally.
Independent research group OCTA said in its latest report that there is now a “clear upward trend” in cases. It said the reproduction number in Metro Manila climbed to 1.17 as of Jan. 10, which means more than one person can be infected by a single COVID-19 patient. The last time the reproduction number was above 1 was on Dec. 21, when it was at 1.02, the group noted.
However, Health spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said the rise should be interpreted cautiously, as laboratories are only starting to resume normal operations after their output declined by as much as 30% during the holiday period. The upward trend still has to be studied for another week to arrive at more accurate conclusions, she added.
Besides the impact of the holidays on COVID-19 transmission, experts and authorities are anticipating an increase in cases in the coming weeks due to the recent Feast of the Black Nazarene. The celebration was tagged as a “super-spreader” event after hundreds of thousands of devotees flocked to the Quiapo Church despite the cancellation of Traslacion.
Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs said cases among Filipinos abroad are now at 13,056 after it listed 34 new infections. It also reported another 27 survivors, as the total rose to 8,488, while deaths stayed at 935.
Worldwide, over 90.9 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, of whom more than 1.9 million died and 50.3 million were able to recover.