(UPDATED) The Department of Health (DOH) said novel coronavirus infections in the country exceeded 7,000, with additional 211 cases reported over the last 24 hours.
As of 4 p.m. Friday, April 24, the total case count in the country reached 7,192.
The DOH also reported 15 additional mortalities, raising the death toll to 477.
Forty other patients have recovered, bringing the total recoveries to 762 as of Friday.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, in a virtual press briefing Friday, April 24, said they have noted 18 clusters of cases nationwide.
But she said the clusters they have observed are small and isolated.
A cluster refers to two or more cases in a household or community.
In Cebu City, areas with multiple cases are Sitio Zapatera in Barangay Luz, Barangay Labangon and Cebu City Jail.
Vergeire also said 26 provinces have not reported a single case of coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, or Sars-CoV-2.
These are Agusan Del Sur, Apayao, Aurora, Basilan, Batanes, Biliran, Camarines Norte, Davao Occidental, Dinagat Islands, Eastern Samar, Guimaras, Ifugao, Kalinga, Masbate, Mt Province, Quirino, Saranggani, Siquijor, Sorsogon, Southern Leyte, Sulu, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Norte, and Zamboanga Sibugay.
Vergeire said they were evaluating the factors behind the zero case in these provinces.
"If you notice, many of them are geographically isolated or separated," said Vergeire
Meanwhile, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III expressed support for the extension of the enhanced community quarantine in the NCR and 26 other areas.
"In the end, the health of the people is the most important consideration," said Duque.
"We support the decision of the President in extending the ECQ where it is necessary. For areas where they should be loosened, we just need to ensure that minimum health standards are in place," he added. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)