Philippines registers highest daily Covid-19 cases as lockdown resumes

Manila, Aug 4 (efe-epa).- The Philippines registered Tuesday 6,352 fresh cases of Covid-19, marking a daily record for the country and all of Southeast Asia, as the capital of Manila and four adjoining provinces reimposed lockdown amid a new wave of infections.

The Philippines has recorded a total of 112,593 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus since January including 2,115 deaths, according to the latest data from the Department of Health.

The daily cases registered record increases five times during the last one week, prompting the government to order a fresh lockdown in the capital and the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna, which account for 27 million people or one-fourth of the country’s population and 67 percent of its economic activity.

The current lockdown for the capital and surrounding provinces imposes the complete restriction of movement and suspends public transport while allowing only one member of each family to go out to buy essential goods.

Despite the restriction on movement – except for essential workers -, Manila witnessed high traffic and long queues on Tuesday morning at military check posts along the borders between municipalities and neighborhoods to ensure strict compliance with the lockdown.

All business establishments except markets and pharmacies remained closed.

Despite imposing one of the longest and strictest confinements in the world – 5 months in the capital -, the Philippines is the only country in the region that has not yet managed to subdue the infection curve, which has been rising since March, due to deficiencies in conducting timely tests and contact tracing.

Secretary of Science and Technology, Fortunato Dela Peña, announced Tuesday that the Philippines plans to immunize three million people, less than three percent of its population when a vaccine is available.

The country’s medical community has called for a new approach against the pandemic, given that after five months, the country’s hospitals are packed beyond capacity, with a shortage of resources, and overworked and ailing medical professionals.

However, the government has warned that the country would not be able to sustain the current lockdown beyond Aug.18, given its extreme economic and social impact on the country, where 16.6 percent of the population lives below the poverty line and millions of families are suffering from hunger.

The United Nations on Tuesday approved a humanitarian aid plan for the Philippines amounting to 6 billion pesos ($120 million), the largest for the country since super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, intended for its 5.4 million disadvantaged people. EFE-EPA


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