Philippines extends lockdown to May 15, Indonesia suspends air, sea travel

Manila, Apr 24 (efe-epa).- The Philippine president extended Friday the strict lockdown measures across several parts of the country, including Manila, in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19, while Indonesia announced a travel ban on incoming flights and boats.

Rodrigo Duterte, in a televised address announced that, everyone was at risk but the probability of getting infected with the virus should not be increased.

Apart from the capital region, the strict lockdown will be maintained during three more weeks in areas such as the island of Luzon – Pangasinan, Benguet, Catanduanes and Albay provinces apart from the central Luzon region – where half of its population lives.

Indonesia, the South East Asian country with the largest number of deaths due to COVID-19, suspended all domestic and international air and sea travel Friday until early June.

The ban on operation of flights will remain until June 1 and special travel for the repatriation of Indonesians or allowing foreigners to return to their countries has been exempted, director general of aviation Novie Riyanto Rahardjo said.

In the Philippines, the quarantine will also be extended in the island provinces of Mindoro, Cebu, Atique, Iloilo and in the central part of the country along with North Davao and Davao city in the southern island of Mindanao.

Areas of low-risk have been excluded from the extensions, which means that people can go out of their homes for basic necessities and public transport will resume with a reduced capacity.

Duterte took the decision of extending the lockdown in several regions of the country upon recommendation of a group of experts on the COVID-19 response, as they warned that lifting the restrictions so soon could lead to a second wave of infections.

Since the outbreak of the infection in January, the Philippines has reported 6,981 cases including 462 deaths and 722 recovered patients.

Since mid-April, the Philippines increased its diagnostic test capabilities and set up isolation centers for those testing positive, which has led to declining number of new cases and deaths on daily basis.

Since last week, the number of recovered patients is more than of the number of deaths, which shows that the measures for containing the infection curve is working.

In Indonesia, the government – which has reported 7,775 COVID-19 cases including 647 deaths – has implemented a partial lockdown in the worst hit area of Jakarta and has suspended travel within the country during the Islamic month of Ramadan which began on Friday.

The government of neighboring Malaysia, announced the nationwide extension of its lockdown measures until May 12. Some 5,603 COVID-19 cases has been reported so far in the country including 95 deaths. EFE-EPA


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