Millions return to lockdown in Philippines as coronavirus surges

490 views
As part of the new measures, residents of Manila and four surrounding provinces on the island of Luzon have been asked to stay at home for two weeks as the number of cases in the country has surged past 100,000 — a five-fold increase from June when the country emerged from one of the world's longest lockdowns. — Courtesy photo
As part of the new measures, residents of Manila and four surrounding provinces on the island of Luzon have been asked to stay at home for two weeks as the number of cases in the country has surged past 100,000 — a five-fold increase from June when the country emerged from one of the world's longest lockdowns. — Courtesy photo

MANILA — Tens of millions of people in the Philippines have been put back in lockdown, after doctors warned a surge in new coronavirus cases could push the healthcare system to collapse, prompting authorities to impose as stricter measures.

The move comes at a time when the country is witnessing a resurgence of coronavirus and a coalition of health groups issued a “distress signal” urging President Rodrigo Duterte to act. “Our healthcare workers should not bear the burden of deciding who lives and who dies,” they said in an open letter at the weekend.

As part of the new measures, residents of Manila and four surrounding provinces on the island of Luzon have been asked to stay at home for two weeks as the number of cases in the country has surged past 100,000 — a five-fold increase from June when the country emerged from one of the world's longest lockdowns.

It is now reporting several thousand new cases every day the 6,352 on Tuesday was a record-high.

The government has blamed people flouting virus protocols for the sharp increase in infections, which have been concentrated in Manila and the central city of Cebu.

With only 24 hours notice of the shutdown, which took effect on Tuesday, many people have found themselves stranded in the capital without any transport to return to their hometowns.

"We've run out of money. We can't leave the airport because we don't have any relatives here," Ruel Damaso, a 36-year-old construction worker, told AFP. He was trying to return to the southern city of Zamboanga.

In other parts of Manila people were seen stockpiling food the day before restrictions began as they prepared to stay indoors for a second time. — Agencies

490 views