The Philippines announced Tuesday that it would increase the security perimeter for those who are not vaccinated in the capital, Manila. This was after a spike in Covid-19-related cases following the holidays.
Officials made the announcement after the Philippines reported 4,984 cases, the highest daily total in recent weeks, for the second consecutive day.
The restrictions were already in place for Metropolitan Manila, which includes 16 cities and a township that has a population of approximately 14 million. Mayors agreed to ban unvaccinated residents leaving their homes for other than essential reasons, such a need for food, water, or work.
Tuesday’s announcement expanded the area under restrictions to include Bulacan, Cavite and Rizalbar. The rules will take effect on Wednesday and remain in place until January 15.
President Rodrigo Duterte put several regions, including Luzon (the country’s largest island and home of Manila) under lockdown after the virus spread.
Officials at the health department suggested that vaccine complacency is behind the latest increase in infections.
“Despite the availability of vaccines, there is a number of individuals who adamantly opt not to be vaccinated,” the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said in a statement.
Benhur Abalos, the head of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, which oversees regulations in the megacity, said the measures were necessary “because some of our minors are unvaccinated.”
“This is just temporary while the cases are rampaging,” he said of the lockdown. “So this is just to protect our unvaccinated.”
Mr. Abalos stated that authorities were concerned about a 285 per cent increase in Covid-19 cases between mid-December and Dec. 31.
The government plans to inoculate all 77 million Filipinos, out of a total population of 110 millions by May 2022. Only 40 million Filipinos had received two doses as of December 1, 2018.
Dr. Benjamin Campomanes, executive vice president and chief medical officer of St. Luke’s Medical Center in Manila, told a local television station that cases would continue to soar if no measures were taken.
“What is very concerning is the exponential increase. Just before New Year, for example, we have had zero admissions here in Quezon City,” he said, referring to a metro Manila suburb. “But now we have 41 cases within a week. With this exponential increase, I am worried about a week from today.”
Source: NY Times