The Philippines reported 32,246 new Covid-19 infections on Wednesday, the second-highest single-day tally since the pandemic began in January 2020, pushing the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 3,058,634.
The Department of Health (DOH) said the number of active cases or patients still battling the disease soared to 208,164 as the positivity rate rose to 45.7 per cent.
The DOH also reported 144 coronavirus-related deaths, raising the country's death toll to 52,654, with 11 laboratories failing to submit data. The deaths include those who died in previous months.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the Covid-19 surge was still ongoing, adding it was still "premature" to say that the Covid-19 infections had slowed down after recording slightly lower new cases on Tuesday.
"Tuesday's caseload is not an indication that the peak is over. We might still be in the acceleration phase of our surge. I cannot say for now whether it is the beginning of a downtrend," he told an online forum on Wednesday.
Infections are beginning to spread outside Metro Manila, he added.
Duque said the lower case count reported on Tuesday was due to the failure of testing laboratories to submit data on weekends. Many health care workers, including nurses and medical technologists, contracted the virus affecting the operation.
The Philippines' Covid-19 infections surged to record levels beginning Saturday before peaking on Monday, with 33,169 cases.
Officials blamed the spike on high mobility, poor compliance with safety health protocols during the holiday season, and the fast-spreading Omicron and Delta variants.
Meanwhile, the Philippines' Department of Transportation has banned unvaccinated people in Metro Manila from using public transport while the capital region is under alert level 3 (on a scale of 5) or higher.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the new policy was in line with President Rodrigo Duterte's order to restrict the movement of unvaccinated people in Metro Manila, the region with the most active and new cases.
Tugade said only those with medical conditions that prevent their complete Covid-19 vaccination and those travelling to buy food and other essentials were exempted from the "no vaccination, no ride" policy.
The Philippines, which has around a population of 110 million, has tested more than 24 million people since the outbreak.