Manila back under lockdown as virus cases surge

In this April 16, 2020, photo provided by the Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks to the nation about the government's efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease during a televised address from Malacanang palace in Manila, Philippines. President Duterte threatened martial law-style enforcement of a monthlong lockdown in the main northern region of of the country as violations of the quarantine soared. (Karl Norman Alonzo/ Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division via AP)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Commuter trains, buses and other public vehicles stayed off the main roads of the Philippine capital Tuesday and police were again staffing checkpoints to restrict public travel as surging virus cases forced another lockdown.

Officials deployed dozens of shuttle buses, along with army trucks, to ferry stranded medical personnel and workers of authorized businesses. Most domestic flights to and from the capital were cancelled, and night curfews will return in places.

Crowds trooped to some supermarkets Monday to stock up on food after the hasty return to a lockdown sparked panic-buying.

The lockdown is milder than was first one imposed, which largely confined most people to their homes for months, but is more severe than the quarantine restrictions the capital had been under recently. It is being imposed in metropolitan Manila and outlying provinces for two weeks.

Businesses previously allowed to partly reopen, including barbershops, gyms, dine-in restaurants and tourist destinations, will again be closed. Authorized companies including banks, health and food processing firms must shuttle their employees between home and work. Traveling by bike, motorcycle and private car is allowed for essential reasons, but mass transit will be closed.

President Rodrigo Duterte agreed to reinstate the lockdown after medical groups warned the health care system was being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. More than 106,000 people have been infected, including more than 2,100 who have died.


Source: AP