The Department of Health reported 8,719 coronavirus infections on Friday, bringing the total to 979,740.

The death toll rose by 159 to 16,529, while recoveries increased by 13,812 to 860,412, it said in a bulletin.

There were 102,799 active cases, 96.4% of which were mild, 1.3% did not show symptoms, 0.7% were critical, 0.9% were severe and 0.58% were moderate.

The agency on April 2 reported the highest daily tally of 15,310 cases since the pandemic started last year.

It said 28 duplicates had been removed from the tally and 77 recovered cases were reclassified as deaths. One laboratory was closed on April 21, while six laboratories failed to submit data.

About 10.7 million Filipinos have been tested for the coronavirus as of April 21, according to DoH’s tracker website.

The coronavirus has sickened about 145.4 million and killed 3.1 million people worldwide, according to the Worldometers website, citing various sources including data from the World Health Organization.

About 123.4 million people have recovered, it said.

Meanwhile, the daily average cases in the past seven days in Metro Manila had fallen by 11% from the previous week, OCTA Research fellow Fredegusto Guido P. David said on Friday.

“The situation has improved and is hopefully continuing to improve,” he told an online news briefing.

The coronavirus reproduction number in the past week also fell to 0.98, meaning an infected person can infect another person. But the reproduction rate was still unstable and could rise, Mr. David said.

OCTA also urged the government not to ease the modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and nearby provinces until the reproduction rate was less than 0.9, OCTA fellow Nicanor P. Austriaco, Jr. said at the same briefing.

“We are looking for a consistent pattern of decrease throughout the 17 local government units for a significant period of time before we know we have successfully passed through the surge,” he said.

An inter-agency task force on Thursday approved the expanded coverage of Philippine Health Insurance Corp.’s new payment method that facilitates the settlement of about 60% of accounts payable to healthcare facilities during the pandemic.

In a statement, presidential spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. said PhilHealth’s debit-credit payment method would apply in all high-risk and critical risk areas. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas