Philippines' COVID-19 cases exceed 7,000, death toll at 477

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 24) — The Philippines now has 7,192 cases of the coronavirus disease as the Department of Health confirmed 211 new infections on Friday.

Forty more people have survived the viral illness, bringing total recoveries to 762.

Meanwhile, 15 patients have died. The death toll is now at 477.

The DOH has explained these are not the real-time data since cases have to be validated before reporting.

Health Spokesperson Ma. Rosario Vergeire earlier said the time it takes for COVID-19 cases to double has slowed down from three days to five days, but it is too early to say the curve of new infections has flattened.

The DOH recorded only 111 additional cases on Wednesday, the lowest in two weeks, but one reason could be the scaling down of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine's operations after 43 of its employees tested positive for COVID-19.

The RITM is expected to resume full operations on Saturday. The DOH expects the testing capacity of RITM and 16 other accredited laboratories to be back at 4,000 tests daily this weekend.

To contain the spread of COVID-19, President Rodrigo Duterte has extended the enhanced community quarantine in the regions of Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon until May 15.

The same stay-at-home orders and suspension of most work and mass transportation will also remain in effect in "high-risk" provinces or those with high number of COVID-19 cases.

The country reported its first COVID-19 case in late January, just a month after the outbreak began in Wuhan, China.

Worldwide, COVID-19 has infected more than 2.7 million and killed over 190,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University's COVID-19 global tracker.