Philippines Again Under Strict Lockdown as Coronavirus Cases Continue to Rise

The deadly virus outbreak has created a major stir around the world in recent times in recent times infecting over 18.2 million people globally

The police of the Philippines deployed rad blocks on Tuesday for enforcing a strict new lockdown on the 28 million people in the capital of Manila and nearby provinces as the Southeast Asian nation confirmed the region's biggest daily rise in the coronavirus or COVID-19 cases.

The area that accounts for the most economic activity in the nation and a quarter of the population, has been sent back into lockdown for two weeks after the rules were relaxed in June.

The eased restrictions, in an effort to revive the economy, led to infections soaring more than six-fold to 112,593 and deaths more than doubling to roughly 2,100, piling pressure on a beleaguered healthcare sector. The health ministry on Tuesday reported 6,352 new cases, marking the biggest daily jump in infections in Southeast Asia and after posting a record rise in five of the past six days.

COVID-19 in Philippines

Mobile photo taken on Feb. 14, 2020 shows Gao Yongzhe and Huang Wenli talking with patients at "Wuhan Livingroom" in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province. Doctor Gao Yongzhe and nurse Huang Wenli are a couple working at the frontline against the novel coronavirus. Although they both spend all day at "Wuhan Livingroom", a temporary hospital, the busy couple barely had time to meet each other. On Feb. 14, under the arrangement of the hospital, the couple met and had a lunch together. As Huang put it, it was their special and meaningful 23rd Valentine's Day even though there was no flower and gift. (Photo by Gao Xiang/Xinhua) Xinhua/IANS

In a new blow for the economy, authorities have suspended public transport and made restaurants dine-in, while barbershops and salons have closed, hitting livelihoods. "There's really nothing we can do but follow the measures given by the government," said Cipriano Quirante, 57, a dispatcher at a taxi firm.

Restaurant manager Charlito Imperial said usually there were long lines at his premises but by midday he had had only three take-away customers. Police ringed urban areas with roadblocks and checkpoints to restrict movement, with only one member of every household allowed to go out to buy food and essentials. President Rodrigo Duterte late on Sunday announced the new lockdown, marking a return to the strict quarantine measures in force from mid-March to May.

But the presidential palace on Tuesday warned the new restrictions could not be prolonged."The economy can no longer bear a longer lockdown," Harry Roque, Duterte's spokesman, told a news briefing. "Our message to the people is to take care of your health so you can still make a living."

(With agency inputs)

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