The Philippines will reimpose a stricter coronavirus lockdown in and around the capital for two weeks from Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte announced early on Monday, as the country struggles to contain infections that have jumped to more than 100,000 cases.
Duterte has approved placing Metro Manila and nearby provinces such as Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan under so-called “Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine” (MECQ) until August 18, his spokesman Harry Roque told reporters.
The lockdown will affect an estimated 25 million people, almost a quarter of the Philippines’ more than 100 million population.
Some businesses and public transport are expected to be closed in the capital, which is currently under the less-restrictive General Community Quarantine classification. It is unclear if domestic flights from Manila are also affected, as in the previous lockdown of the country’s capital.
Work and quarantine passes will also be required, as authorities seek to restrict movements.
Some of the president’s allies have advised against a new lockdown saying it could cripple the already ailing economy.
Duterte’s move came after 80 local groups representing 80,000 doctors and a million nurses called for tighter controls, saying the country was losing the fight against the coronavirus.
“I have heard you. Don’t lose hope. We are aware that you are tired,” Duterte said in a late-night televised address that lasted early on Monday.