MANILA, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported 17,231 new COVID-19 infections on Friday, the highest ever daily tally since the outbreak began in January last year.
The record caseload brings the total number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 1,807,800.
The death toll climbed to 31,198 after 317 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH added.
Strict coronavirus lockdown rules remain in Metro Manila until Aug. 31 to contain the spread of the more virulent Delta variant, even after lifting the two-week hard lockdown that ended Friday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire urged people to be more vigilant, warning the country "will continue to see a dramatic increase in cases in the coming days."
"Everyone is urged to stay home except for essential activities," Vergeire said in a statement.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the government strategy focuses on targeted restrictions, limited non-essential activities, and re-calibrated actions on specific high-risk activities in the coming days.
"We all need to be strategic and purposive in our responses to control the further spread of COVID-19 and its variants. Community quarantine is not the only solution to the pandemic," Roque added.
The Philippines has been in varying lockdown levels when the government imposed a lockdown in mid-March last year to curb the first wave of COVID-19 infections.
The government has put Metro Manila into a hard lockdown three times since the pandemic, curtailing mobility and business activity.
The Philippines, which has around 110 million population, has tested over 16.5 million people since the outbreak in January 2020. Enditem