By Deighton Acuin and Archie Villaflores

PHOTO: Sandigan News

The government did not expect the COVID-19 cases to increase the way they have been doing over the past days after easing of restrictions to save the negative impacts on the economy, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III admitted Friday.

On Mariz Umali’s “Saksi” report, Duque made the admittance and said the country needs to make adjustments after a steep increase of cases and lenient quarantine restrictions.

"Hindi naman natin alam na papalo ng ganito kataas. So we have to make the adjustments," Duque said.

"Mas maraming nagkakahawaan. Ngayon na tumaas. O, para muna tayo. Ganu'n talaga, e. We have to bounce. Parang cha-cha-cha ka e. 'Di ba, 'di ba? One step back, two steps forward," he added.

The independent research group UP-OCTA Research earlier warned the country’s COVID-19 cases could reach 20,000 per day in April after a sudden surge of reported infections over the past weeks.

Meanwhile, Malacañang announced the government was decreasing the operational capacity in offices and state corporations to 30% to 50% from March 22 until April 4 in order to contain the spread of coronavirus infections.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) also issued a circular temporarily closing recently resumed business activities and re-imposing restrictions on capacity in restaurants and personal care establishments.

The Philippines on Friday logged 7,103 new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections, the highest increase reported in a single day since the pandemic began, bringing the total to 648,066 even as five laboratories failed to submit data on time.

The previous highest record was at 6,958 on August 10, 2020.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), this brought the total active cases in the country to 73,264 cases, the highest this year.

Of this, 93.9 percent are mild, 3.3 percent are asymptomatic, 1.1 percent are severe, and 1 percent are in critical condition.

The DOH also announced that 390 more patients have recovered from the illness, bringing the total to 561,902, while the death toll rose to 12,900 with 13 new fatalities.