Philippines sees highest daily tally of COVID-19 in seven months hinh anh 1A COVID-19 vaccination site in Marikina city of the Philippines on March 2, 2021 (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) on March 13 reported 5,000 new COVID-19 infections, the highest daily tally in nearly seven months, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in this country to 616,611.

Meanwhile, the death toll climbed to 12,766 after 72 more patients succumbed to the coronavirus disease, the DOH said.

It added that 281 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 547,166.

This ministry also urged vigilance as more transmissible coronavirus variants have occurred.

Also on March 13, the Philippines confirmed the first case of the COVID-19 variant first identified in Brazil.

The DOH said the P.1 variant was found in an overseas Filipino returning who from Brazil.

The country also recorded an additional 59 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant found in the UK, bringing the total number to 177. Meanwhile, 32 cases of the B.1.351 variant discovered in South Africa were reported, raising the number of cases for this variant to 90, according to the ministry.

The government blamed the spike in the infection number on people's failure to comply with personal protective measures such as wearing masks and face shields properly and keeping a distance when outside their homes.

Metro Manila authorities had imposed two-week lockdowns in several densely-populated communities in the capital with surging clusters of infections and a two-week curfew, from 10 pm to 5 am, starting on March 15 to control mobility.

The Philippines, which has the second-highest COVID-19 cases and deaths in Southeast Asia, started a vaccination drive on March 1./.