MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is reimposing a moderate lockdown in the Philippine capital and outlying provinces after medical groups appealed for the move as coronavirus infections surge alarmingly.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Monday that metropolitan Manila, the capital region of more than 12 million people, and five densely populated provinces will revert to stricter quarantine restrictions for two weeks starting Tuesday. Mass public transport will be barred and only essential travel will be allowed.
Leaders of nearly 100 medical organizations held a rare online news conference Saturday and warned that the health system has been overwhelmed by infection spikes and may collapse as health workers fall ill or resign from exhaustion and fear.
They asked Duterte to reimpose a tight lockdown in the capital to allow health workers “a timeout” and allow the government to recalibrate its response to the pandemic.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines surged past 103,000 on Sunday and is second-most in Southeast Asia.