The Philippines on Thursday tallied 17,220 new COVID-19 cases and confirmed more infections of the Omicron variant as authorities project the surge to peak by the end of January.
The day's tally brought total active cases to 56,561 and was higher than Wednesday's total of 10,775. Since the start of the pandemic, the country has confirmed 2,888,917 cases. Also on Thursday, the Department of Health added 616 recoveries and 81 deaths.
Belated analysis or genome sequencing of positive samples confirmed 29 more Omicron cases, bringing the total to 43, the DOH said.
"We are projecting that this Omicron variant, because we assumed that this in is our communities already, cases will continue to rise and it may peak the end of the month," DOH Spokesperson Usec. Rosario Vergeire told TeleRadyo on Wednesday.
Ten of the 29 newly-confirmed Omicron cases are returning Filipinos while 19 are local cases in Metro Manila. Of the 19 local cases, 14 are active and three have recovered. The other two cases are being verified, the DOH said.
The DOH did not say if the samples include that of "Poblacion Girl" Gwyneth Chua, whowent viral for skipping hotel quarantine to party before Christmas only to test positive for the virus after her night out.