THE Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday, March 6, 2021, reported more than 3,000 new cases of coronavirus infections for the second consecutive day, pushing the cumulative coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) case count in the Philippines past 590,000.
The 3,439 new cases were the highest in the October 13, 2020 to March 6, 2021 period.
These brought the total caseload in the country to 591,138.
Of the total, 43,323 were active cases in hospitals and isolation facilities.
There were 42 additional deaths, raising the death toll to 12,465. The case fatality rate remained at 2.11 percent.
There were 160 new recoveries, bringing the total of 535,350.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, in a televised public briefing, said it would be wrong to immediately link the spike in cases to the presence of Sars-Cov-2 variants and mutations.
She blamed the rise in cases to non-compliance to minimum public health standards.
"Yes, we have different variants being detected. But we need to realize that the surge in cases is really because we did not comply with the health protocols," she said.
"So, if we continue to see non-compliance to the minimum public health protocols, definitely, the cases will continue to increase. The variants are just aggravating factors," she added.
If the cases continue to surge, Vergeire said tighter community quarantine restrictions are possible.
"As of now, we cannot assure you that there will be no ECQ again. If we reach that point that we need to impose lockdown anew, we will definitely do that as an additional measure," said Vergeire.
"Such a scenario can actually be avoided if we help the government by complying with the minimum health protocols that we have," she added.
The DOH has noted a surge in cases over the past two weeks in the National Capital Region, Central Visayas and Cordillera Administrative Region.
With additional variant cases announced Friday, there are now 118 cases with the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom, and 58 cases with the B.1.351 variant from South Africa. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)