The Philippines’ health ministry on Thursday (Aug 6) reported 3,561 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the country’s total to 119,460 and topping Indonesia for the most infections in Southeast Asia.

The ministry also reported 28 more deaths, bringing the country’s total number of fatalities from the disease to 2,150.

The capital Manila and nearby provinces on Tuesday returned under strict lockdown for two weeks to arrest soaring cases since restrictions were relaxed in June.

The government has placed metro Manila and nearby provinces such as Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan under so-called “Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine” until Aug 18.

In a new blow for the economy, some businesses have been ordered shut and movement is restricted again in the region, which accounts for a quarter of the country’s population and most of its economic activity.

Hair salons, cinemas and gyms have closed, while restaurants are only allowed to do take-outs. Some businesses are allowed to operate but at a limited capacity.

The government’s announcement came after 80 local groups representing 80,000 doctors and 1 million nurses called for tighter controls, saying the country was losing the fight against the coronavirus.​​​​​​​

With economic activity hammered by COVID-19 lockdowns, the Philippine economy plunged in the second quarter of 2020, falling into recession for the first time in 29 years.

The economy shrank by 16.5 per cent in the April to June quarter from the same period last year – the biggest slump in the government’s quarterly gross domestic product data dating back to 1981, said the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Source: CNA

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