Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Philippines extends Covid-19 curbs for at least one month




Philippines extends Covid-19 curbs for at least one month

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Philippines has reported fewer cases of Covid-19 so far this month at around 86,000. AFP

Philippines extends Covid-19 curbs for at least one month

Current quarantine restrictions in the Philippine capital Manila and five other urban centres will stay till at least October, as the government heeds experts who warn that reopening the country too early may lead to a surge in coronavirus infections by Christmas time.

The rest of the country will be under the less restrictive “modified general community quarantine”, Secretary of Health Francisco Duque announced during a meeting late on Monday with President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Philippines has reported fewer cases of Covid-19 so far this month at around 86,000, compared to last month, which saw over 130,000 cases.

It still has the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia, with a total exceeding 300,000, though active cases are now down to around 49,000.

Data crunchers and health experts at the State-run University of the Philippines said indicators had so far been encouraging.

Just half of hospital beds set aside for Covid-19 patients in the capital are now occupied.

But these numbers still fell short of what was needed for restrictions in Metro Manila – home to some 16 million – to be relaxed further.

“The situation in [Metro Manila] has improved, as the rate of transmission, the number of cases, as well as the positivity rate and the measure for hospital resource utilisation, are all on a downward trend,” they said.

They said while the time it took for infections to double had improved to 13 days from 1.55 in March, it still fell short of the 28 days the government was aiming for before it could further ease restrictions on public transport, work protocols and recreational activities.

“Based on past data and trends, a premature downgrading of the quarantine status may increase the risk of a surge in December, around Christmas time,” they warned.

They said at the current rate of infections, and with the existing restrictions in place, Covid-19 cases could still reach 400,000 by year’s end.

Most of the Philippines went through one of the world’s strictest and longest lockdowns from mid-March to May.

The sweeping lockdown was lifted in June, but that quickly led to a surge in infections that forced Duterte to again enforce a two-week lockdown last month.

That allowed the government to “reboot” its pandemic response, officials said.

Since then, more trains, buses and jeepneys have been allowed to ply their routes. More people have been allowed in malls, churches and other public venues.

Gyms and other sports clubs, internet cafes and salons have reopened.

But the government is still enforcing strict rules on wearing of masks and face shields and social distancing.

THE STRAITS TIMES (SINGAPORE)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen says Kingdom not a 'satellite country'

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia had sent diplomatic notes to various embassies demonstrating its stance and clarifying allegations that the Kingdom is a satellite country of China which will allow it exclusive access to the Ream Naval Base in Preah Sihanouk province. The response

  • Vast Prince Manor fun park opens to much fanfare in Kandal

    Chinese-owned Prince Culture and Development Co Ltd officially launched the $85 million Prince Manor entertainment centre in Kandal province on Wednesday. Prince Manor is located along National Road 1, 20km from the centre of Phnom Penh. It is the first major theme park project in Cambodia and

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial