Philippine Capital, Adjacent Areas Back To Stricter Restrictions Amid Surge In COVID-19 Cases

MANILA, Mar 28 (NNN-PNA) – Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, agreed to place Metropolitan Manila and outlying provinces back under the stricter enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), amid spike in the number of new COVID-19 infections.

In a briefing yesterday, presidential spokesperson, Harry Roque, said, the capital city of Manila and neighbouring Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal will be placed under ECQ starting, Mar 29 until Apr 4.

Under the seven-day ECQ, Roque said, the government will again impose “stringent limitations on movement and transportation of people” in these areas.

There will be a “heightened presence of uniformed personnel, to enforce community quarantine protocols,” including police checkpoints, he said, adding, the government will conduct house-to-house visits, to search for suspect COVID-19 cases actively.

Meanwhile, an 11-hour curfew will be imposed from 6.00 p.m. to 5.00 a.m., during these seven days of ECQ in these areas. Authorised persons, such as essential workers, public transport, and cargo vehicles, are allowed during curfew.

Roque said, the government will assess the situation at the end of the seventh day, to decide whether to lift or extend the strict ECQ.

He explained, the government was imposing tighter restrictions to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed by cases, while additional isolation facilities are being readied.

The announcement came, after the Philippines’ virus cases surge to new daily record. The country reported yesterday, 9,595 new COVID-19 infections, raising the nationwide count to 712,442. The death toll increased to 13,159, after 10 more patients died from the disease.

Metro Manila, located on the main Luzon island and with a population of about 13 million, consistently records the highest COVID-19 cases, since the virus emerged in the country in Jan, last year.

The Philippines has been in varying quarantine levels over the past year, since the government imposed a lockdown in mid-Mar last year.

The Philippine economy shrank 9.5 percent in 2020, due to the prolonged impact of the global pandemic.



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