President Rodrigo Duterte has extended a strict lockdown in Manila and adjacent provinces by at least a week.

The move was made to try to contain the number of infections even as the country reported 12,576 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, which has put further strain on the healthcare system. 

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque has said the national capital region and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal will remain under enhanced community quarantine from April 5 to 11.

The strictest restriction on movement, originally set to last for a week till April 4, is intended to control a new surge in infections that has overwhelmed hospitals which has been attributed mainly to poor compliance with health protocols and more contagious COVID-19 variants. 

The restrictions include a ban on non-essential movement, mass gatherings and dining in restaurants. “We call on local governments to tighten enforcement of our quarantine measures and confront people who fail to follow minimum health standards,” Roque said. 

The number of active cases in the country have hit a record 165,715, of which 96% showed mild symptoms, health ministry data showed. 

Nevertheless, intensive care capacity in the capital region’s hospitals has reached a critical level, with 80% of beds filled and many hospitals had to turn away patients. 

READ: Displaced workers hired as contact tracers in the Philippines

To increase capacity, the health department said modular tents were being delivered to hospitals across Metro Manila with the help of the World Health Organisation and the UN children fund UNICEF, according to Channel News Asia. 



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Aquilino Managbanag

By Aquilino Managbanag

Aquilino Managbanag EXPERIENCE: Four years at The Asian Pacific Post, a weekly Canadian newspaper founded in 1993 in Vancouver, British Columbia. The newspaper specialized in reporting Asian issues, and has a readership of 160,000. It has a sister publication in The South Asian Post. EDUCATION: University of Santo Tomas – Manila -- The private Roman Catholic research university is Asia’s oldest existing university. The university takes pride in keeping the Catholic faith and beliefs prominent while holding true to its centuries-old tradition of academic excellence.