Philippines extends lockdown in capital, high-risk areas to mid-May

Philippines

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday extended a lockdown in the capital and other provinces considered to be high-risk areas for contracting coronavirus until May 15.
Duterte also promised to impose martial law if communist rebels did not stop their attacks amid the outbreak of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Duterte said everybody was at risk in a televised address announcing the extension of the lockdown in metropolitan Manila and several provinces on the most populous island of Luzon.
“Don’t increase the odds or chances of getting it,” Duterte said.
According to the presidential spokesman, Harry Roque, eight provinces in the Central and Southern Philippines, where cases of Covid-19 were increasing, were also put under stricter enhanced community quarantine measures.
Under the lockdown guidelines, schools, public transport, and work in private and most government offices are suspended in areas under the enhanced community quarantine.
Meanwhile, only one person per household was allowed to go out to buy groceries, medicines and other essential supplies.
Roque said in other areas not considered high risk, government would soon allow public transport and work in private and government offices to resume but only on a limited basis.
He added that malls would also be allowed to open but only with shops that offer essential products.
“The number of people inside the mall will be limited. Everyone will be required to get temperature checks, wear face masks and use alcohol. No one can hang out in the mall.
“Malls will be required to set the temperature of their airconditioning units to 26 degrees Celcius and to disable their wifi internet to discourage people from lingering inside, Roque said.
Duterte, however, lambasted communist rebels for their continued attacks on government troops amid the outbreak and warned them to stop the lawlessness.
“I am now warning everybody, I might declare martial law and there will be no turning back.
“Government will also go after organisations acting as legal fronts of communist rebels and providing them financial support.
The Department of Health on Friday reported 211 new confirmed cases of Covid-19, bringing the national tally to 7,192. It also reported 15 additional deaths pushing the death toll to 477.
Duterte, however, urged the public to bear with the restrictions to help contain the spread of the coranavirus.
“When will this end. Covid will never end. It will be here and it will stay until thy kingdom comes. Only a vaccine will totally protect people from the disease.
“Let us endure first. If this spreads further, I will have more problems,” he said.

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