VISTA Mall, the Department of Health and local government partners have tied up in the joint mission to hasten the vaccine rollout. — VISTAMALLS.COM.PH/

Philippine health authorities on Thursday reported 15,566 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020 to 2.57 million.

The death toll rose to 38,493 after 199 more patients were recorded as having died, while the number of recoveries increased by 23,483, the Department of Health (DoH) said in a bulletin released on Friday.

The DoH said there were 130,268 active cases, 77.9% of which were mild, 15% were asymptomatic, 2.1% were severe, 3.97% were moderate, and 0.9% were critical.

The agency said 45 duplicates were removed from the tally, 33 of which were reclassified as recoveries. It added that 102 recoveries were reclassified as deaths. Five laboratories failed to submit data on Sept. 29.

The country’s pandemic task force, in its meeting held Thursday, decided to extend the pilot implementation of the Alert Levels System in Manila, the capital, and nearby cities until Oct. 15.

On Friday, the Health department clarified that the National Capital Region will remain under Alert Level 4, which is nearly equivalent to a modified community quarantine in the quarantine levels system used throughout most of the pandemic.

The government on Sept. 16 started enforcing “granular lockdowns” with five alert levels in Metro Manila. The capital region was placed under Alert Level 4, the second highest, until Sept 30.

The Philippines is struggling to vaccinate its entire adult population amid a spike in coronavirus cases believed to be spurred on by the highly contagious Delta variant.

The country on Friday took delivery of 883,350 doses of the vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. The shipment was secured through a global initiative for equal access.

Nearly 45.15 million doses of coronavirus vaccines had been given out as of Sept. 29. More than 21.1 million people or 27.36% of all adult Filipinos had been fully vaccinated.

The country has already received more than 71 million doses of coronavirus vaccines. — Kyle Aristophere Atienza