24 million put into Covid-19 lockdown as Philippines imposes restrictions on economic hub Metro Manila
The Philippines has implemented a week-long lockdown from Monday in Manila, the country’s economic center. The government warned that the measures could be extended if they fail to halt a surge in Covid-19 cases in the region.
Health officials called on citizens in Metro Manila and four surrounding areas to remain at home, and only leave their residence if they are key workers or for essential reasons, as the nation tries to suppress a surge in coronavirus cases.
The lockdown will affect around a fifth of the population in the Philippines.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the chair of the country’s Covid-19 task force, warned that “all options are open” as the government works to prevent its healthcare system from being overwhelmed by a new wave of infections.
The health department’s chief epidemiologist, Alethea de Guzman, explained the government’s goal, saying officials need it to achieve a “sustained” drop in case numbers.Also on rt.com Two cases of NEW Philippines Covid-19 variant found in England, UK govt's health agency launches investigation
The newly-introduced measures follow an earlier, months-long lockdown that resulted in millions of jobs being lost and people finding themselves unable to pay their bills.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Philippines has recorded more than 720,000 confirmed infections and over 13,000 fatalities, with a significant spike in recent weeks.
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