MANILA, May 17 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) reported 5,979 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 1,149,925.
The death toll climbed to 19,262 after 72 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said.
The Philippines, which has about 110 million population, has tested over 11.8 million people since the outbreak in January 2020.
The health care utilization rate in Metro Manila is "on the safe zone" now after weeks of steady surges in infections, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online briefing on Monday, adding that some areas in the capital "remain at high risk."
The health care utilization rate refers to the bed occupancy in the intensive care unit, the isolation facilities and the hospital wards.
Vergeire said the country's average number of daily cases has also dropped from around 10,000 during the peak to more than 5,000.
The Philippines placed Metro Manila and its four adjacent provinces under strict lockdown on March 29 after the COVID-19 cases soared. The government eased the restrictions over the weekend.
The DOH urged the local government units to implement safety measures to curb the infections strictly. "Let us not be complacent and continue the detection and isolation of patients to reduce the infections," Vergeire added.