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250,000 inhabitants of Manila go back into confinement

Credit: Belga

About 250,000 residents of Manila, the Philippines, will be confined again after an outbreak of coronavirus cases in the country, an official said on Monday.

Residents of Navotas, one of 16 cities that make up the capital of 12 million people, will have to stay in their homes for two weeks. The measure should come into effect from Wednesday or Thursday, Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco told AFP, just six weeks after an initial long and strict containment.

Residents will be allowed to go out only to work. Shops will remain open but restaurants will only be allowed to sell takeaway food. Tiangco has asked the Manila police chief to deploy officers to enforce the lockdown, he said.

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“I don’t know if (containment) is a solution, but I am sure that if I do this, the number of cases will not increase,” Tiangco said on the radio.

Navotas, one of the poorest cities in Manila, counts 931 cases of coronavirus and 59 deaths, according to official figures. The number of new infections there has peaked in the last two weeks.

“We have no other choice because people are so stubborn,” Tiangco said, referring to those who do not respect social distancing measures.

Measures to contain the virus vary from one region of the country to another, but Manila suffered the strictest and longest containment. It entered force mid-March and only began to be lifted in early June. Since then, containment measures have again been put in place in some neighbourhoods due to an increase in cases. Navotas is facing the most significant measures.

In Manila, which accounts for more than a third of countries’ economic output, millions of workers are suffering from these restrictions. A relaxation of the measures and the return of thousands of people working abroad have led to an increase in the number of cases in the country.

The Philippines has the second-highest number of infections in Southeast Asia, with more than 57,000 cases and 1,599 deaths. Indonesia is the most affected, with more than 75,000 infections.

The Brussels Times

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