Fresh lockdown in Manila amid Covid-19 surge
Bangkok, Mar 22 (efe-epa).- Philippines authorities have imposed a fresh lockdown around the capital Manila as the area becomes the epicenter of a new wave of Covid-19 infections with record numbers reported Monday.
The country on Monday exceeded 8,000 cases in a single day for the first time since the start of the pandemic a year ago, according to official data from the department of health.
The provinces of Manila, Rizal, Laguna, Cavite and Bulacan — an area that accounts for more than 70% of the national GDP — will come under a “confinement bubble” as of Monday until 4 April.
This means that the movement between the provinces is permitted but no one will be allowed to enter or leave the bubble.
The capital and its neighboring provinces already had to endure one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world. The impact on the economy saw the country register its first recession in three decades.
Authorities have opted to cast a wider confinement bubble given that last year’s strict lockdown hindered the mobility of many essential workers, who often travel from their homes in the outlying cities to their jobs in Manila.
The government has urged people to stay at home save for “essential activity,” especially during the Easter holidays, which are typically celebrated with zeal in the Philippines.
Mass gatherings, including religious ones, are banned and meetings for weddings, funerals and baptisms have been capped at 10 people. Workspace capacity has been limited to 30 percent.
Bars, restaurants, cinema theaters, cultural centers, museums and public parks have been shut down in Manila and the rest of the confined provinces.
The Philippines has reported 663,794 coronavirus cases, including 73,072 active cases, and nearly 13,000 deaths from the coronavirus since the outbreak began. EFE-EPA