Manila: The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines surged to 70,764 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 1,951 new infections on Tuesday.
The DOH said that the number of recoveries further rose to 23,281 after 209 more patients have survived the disease.
The death toll also increased to 1,837 after two more patients died, the DOH said.
The Philippines reiterated on Tuesday that it is ramping up COVID-19 testing and contact tracing to contain the community transmission amid the sharp spike of cases recorded in the country.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque said in a televised meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte that the government aims to test up to 40,000 people a day from the current 20,000 to 25,000.
The government, which has tested nearly 1.12 million people so far, aims to test 10 million people by 2021, he added.
"Our target is to test more than 10 per cent of the total population. Of the total population at 109 million, we might be able to reach about 10 million Filipinos by 2021," Duque said, adding that early detection is vital in clinical management.
In a televised public address aired on Tuesday, Duterte threatened to arrest Filipinos who continue to wantonly defy the lockdown rules of wearing a face mask and maintaining safe distancing when outside their homes.
He instructed the police and the local government officials to strictly implement the rules especially in the densely populated slums in Metro Manila and other urban areas.
"We will have to ask our police to be more strict. They will be arrested. A little shame would put them on notice forever," he said.
"I hate to arrest people for a mere violation of (not following rules like wearing a face mask and social distancing.) But they need to cooperate. The mayors have to do more," he said.
"There is no other way that we can prevent COVID-19 from transferring from one person to the other unless we obey," Duterte said.