MANILA, April 3 (Xinhua) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has agreed to extend the strict COVID-19 lockdown measures in Metro Manila and four adjacent areas for another week as the virus case count continues to surge, his spokesperson said on Saturday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced on television that the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) would be extended for a minimum of one week in Metro Manila and the adjacent provinces of Laguna, Bulacan, Cavite, and Rizal.
The Philippines reverted these areas to the highest quarantine level on March 29 following the "continuing and swift rise" of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. The seven-day lockdown ends on Sunday.
The Southeast Asian country on Saturday reported 12,576 new COVID-19 infections, the second highest daily tally after it logged 15,310 new cases on Friday. The Philippines now has the total number of 784,043 confirmed cases, including 13,423 deaths.
Metro Manila, the epicenter of the outbreak, consistently records the highest COVID-19 cases since the pandemic emerged in the country in January last year.
The Philippines has been in varying quarantine levels over the past year since the government imposed a lockdown in mid-March last year.