THE PHILIPPINES posted 2,196 coronavirus infections on Thursday — the fourth straight day the tally fell below 3,000 — bringing the total to 3.65 million.

The death toll reached 55,330 after 107 more patients died, while recoveries rose by 4,409 to 3.52 million, the Department of Health (DoH) said in a bulletin.

It said 9.7% of 29,392 samples on Feb. 15 tested positive for the coronavirus, still above the 5% threshold set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Of 66,588 active cases, 1,090 did not show symptoms, 60,848 were mild, 2,913 were moderate, 1,428 were severe and 309 were critical.

A drop in COVID-19 testing rates worldwide was likely contributing to a decline in reported cases in the, even as deaths were rising, WHO technical lead on COVID-19 Maria Van Kerkhove said on Wednesday.

“The bigger concern right now, I think, is the still increasing number of deaths,” she told an online discussion streamed live on YouTube.

Ms. Van Kerkhove noted that in the past week alone, almost 75,000 people died, which was probably underestimated.

Countries claiming that their transmission rates had dropped in the past weeks probably have also experienced a drop in coronavirus testing, said Mike Ryan, WHO emergency chief.

DoH said 95% of new cases occurred on Feb. 4 to 17. The top regions with cases in the past two weeks were Metro Manila with 358, Calabarzon with 307 and Western Visayas with 214 infections. It added that 65% of new deaths occurred in February and 18% in January.

Seventy-nine recoveries were relisted as deaths, while three laboratories failed to submit data on Feb. 15.

The OCTA Research Group said coronavirus infections in Metro Manila had increased, noting that the 632 new cases  on Wednesday were above previous projections.

“With mostly fresh cases, this feels like a Valentine spike,” OCTA fellow Fredegusto P. David tweeted. “The figure shows that it is above the Jan. 24 projections.”

The government, which is scrambling to vaccinate more people as it reopens the national economy, has started easing COVID-19 lockdowns as infections continue to fall.

The Philippines has vaccinated 263,932 children as of Feb. 16, Health Undersecretary Myrna C. Cabotaje told a televised news briefing on Thursday. Of the total, only eight experienced nonserious adverse events, she said.

She added that the government was set to receive about five million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for children this month. 

The government had fully vaccinated 61.9 million people as of Feb. 16., Ms. Cabotaje said. About 9.3 million booster shots have been injected.

At the same briefing, Information and Communications Technology acting Secretary Emmanuel Rey R. Caintic said the country’s vaccination certificates have new security features and now include data on booster shots.

“The most important update is the inclusion of booster shots,” he said in Filipino. “You may now see your third jab in the vaccine certificate.”

He said more than 70% of vaccination data in the country have been encoded into the government’s database.

Mr. Caintic said the agency expects 90% of all vaccination data from local government units to be sent to the National Government database in three to four months. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza