MANILA, April 24 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government on Friday extended the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and other high-risk provinces on the main island of Luzon amid the COVID-19 epidemic for two more weeks until May 15.

Duterte's decision was announced by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in a televised briefing on Friday morning.

Duterte also accepted the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to put some provinces in central and southern Philippines under enhanced community quarantine until May 15.

Duterte said regions, provinces or areas which are considered with moderate- and low-risk in the spread of COVID-19 will be placed under a general community quarantine (GCQ) starting on May 1.

"Areas previously under ECQ but remain under GCQ will allow workers to go out and work in phases. Young people, senior citizens and high health risk would stay at home," Roque said.

The Philippines now has 6,981 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 462 deaths and 722 recoveries. The densely populated Metro Manila, home to nearly 13 million people, has the most number of cases.

Duterte imposed strict confinement measures in Luzon in mid-March to contain the spread of the virus, including sweeping restrictions on travel and mass gatherings, and the closure of schools and non-essential businesses.

He asked people to stay at home. He also asked the military and police to prepare for a stricter enforcement of quarantine rules.

The Luzon-wide quarantine was originally scheduled to end in mid-April but Duterte extended it to April 30.