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Parts of the Philippines were put in strict lockdown starting mid-March.

PHOTO BY ARCHIVE


Millions return to lockdown in Philippines amid Covid-19

 

MANILA – More than 27 million people in the Philippines will go back into lockdown on Tuesday (August 4) amid a spike in the number of coronavirus cases in the country.

As of Monday, the country recorded a total of 106,330 coronavirus cases, of which 65,821 have recovered and 2,104 have died.

In mid-March, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte imposed one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns in Manila and other provinces to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Late on Sunday, Duterte announced new restrictions covering Manila, and nearby provinces, such as Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan, until August 18.

Public transport will be halted and domestic flights grounded for the next two weeks to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Some businesses are expected to close. Public movement will also be restricted, with work and quarantine passes made mandatory.

Duterte’s move came after 80 groups representing 80,000 doctors and a million nurses called for tighter controls, saying the country was losing the fight against the coronavirus.

“I have heard you. Don’t lose hope. We are aware that you are tired,” Duterte said late on Sunday, addressing medical frontliners during a televised speech after meeting cabinet members and his coronavirus task force.

Duterte also approved the hiring of 10,000 medical professionals and additional benefits for healthcare workers on the frontline.

More than 5,000 medical workers have contracted Covid-19, according to the Department of Health. A total of 38 have died.

“We really fell short. Nobody anticipated this,” Duterte said, as he rejected calls to fire Health Minister Francisco Duque. “Nobody expected that thousands will get sick on a single day.”

The government has blamed poor compliance with virus restrictions for the sharp increase in infections which have been concentrated in Manila and Cebu City. ICA/Expat Media

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