THE PHILIPPINES posted 870 coronavirus infections on Sunday, bringing the total to 3.67 million.

The death toll hit 57,023 after 144 more patients died, while recoveries rose by 1,433 to 3.56 million, the Department of Health (DoH) said in a bulletin.

It said 3.9% of 24,543 samples from March 4 tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is within the World Health Organization’s threshold.

Of 48,793 active cases, 401 did not show symptoms, 44,131 were mild, 2,693 were moderate, 1,279 were severe and 289 were critical.

DoH said 92% of new cases occurred on Feb. 21 to March 6. The top regions with cases in the past two weeks were Metro Manila with 212, Calabarzon with 126 and Western Visayas with 80 infections. It added that 8% of new deaths occurred in March and 44% in February.

Six duplicates were removed from the tally, two of which were reclassified as recoveries, while 130 recoveries were relisted as deaths. Five laboratories failed to submit data on March 4.

The OCTA Research Group from the University of the Philippines said infections might increase again if Filipinos fail to follow health protocols and get booster shots.

The country has been reporting fewer than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases for the past few days but things can still change, OCTA fellow Fredegusto P. David told ABS-CBN Teleradyo on Sunday. “Technically, we can say the worst is over for now but things can still change.”

He said the Philippines might experience a surge by April or May, noting that the country usually experiences a surge after every three months.

Mr. David said the surge could be triggered by new coronavirus variants, failure to comply with health rules, large gatherings during the campaign period and waning immunity.

“All these factors could cause a resurgence,” he said. “Maybe not as big, but it could be a significant resurgence in cases if we’re not careful.” The OCTA fellow said daily cases could fall to 500 by the end of March.

The Philippines has experienced four waves of COVID-19 since 2020. It reported the highest single-day tally on Jan. 15 at 30,004. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza