MANILA, March 13 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines reported on Friday 12 additional positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 64.
According to the Department of Health, four of the new cases are Filipinos. The nationalities of the other eight are being validated, it said.
In a press release, the Department of Health said its surveillance teams are now conducting extensive information gathering and contact tracing activities on the new cases.
"We continually ask the public to cooperate and help us in the investigation and contact tracing activities," Health Secretary Francisco Duque said.
Available data show that elderly people (average of 66 years) and those with underlying medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease, and immunosuppression are vulnerable to the disease.
"We further urge those who are immunocompromised and are with existing health conditions to be more vigilant and avoid crowded areas and mass gatherings," said Duque.
Duque implored people to stop hoarding basic commodities, particularly hygiene and sanitation products.
"It does not help us fight off COVID-19. Realize that when you hoard, you are being part of the problem by denying the rest of your fellowmen the means to protect themselves," the Health Chief said.
On Thursday, the death toll in the Philippines stood at five.
The Philippines has activated code red level 2, the highest level of national emergency response management, and placed Metro Manila, home to nearly 13 million people, under community quarantine in a bid to halt the spread of the deadly virus.