Philippines extends lockdown in Manila as COVID-19 cases spike
The move was made to try to contain the number of infections even as the country reported 12,576 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, which has put further strain on the healthcare system.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque has said the national capital region and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal will remain under enhanced community quarantine from April 5 to 11.
The strictest restriction on movement, originally set to last for a week till April 4, is intended to control a new surge in infections that has overwhelmed hospitals which has been attributed mainly to poor compliance with health protocols and more contagious COVID-19 variants.
The restrictions include a ban on non-essential movement, mass gatherings and dining in restaurants. “We call on local governments to tighten enforcement of our quarantine measures and confront people who fail to follow minimum health standards,” Roque said.
The number of active cases in the country have hit a record 165,715, of which 96% showed mild symptoms, health ministry data showed.
Nevertheless, intensive care capacity in the capital region’s hospitals has reached a critical level, with 80% of beds filled and many hospitals had to turn away patients.
To increase capacity, the health department said modular tents were being delivered to hospitals across Metro Manila with the help of the World Health Organisation and the UN children fund UNICEF, according to Channel News Asia.