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Philippines imposes strict lockdown to curb Covid surge

The Philippine government will place the capital region under a strict lockdown to curb the spread of the more contagious delta variant of the coronavirus, it announced Friday.

Manila, 30 July 2021 (dpa/MIA) — The Philippine government will place the capital region under a strict lockdown to curb the spread of the more contagious delta variant of the coronavirus, it announced Friday.

The lockdown, locally called ‘enhanced community quarantine’, would be in place for Metro Manila from Aug. 6 to 20, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

Dine-in services in restaurants will not be allowed, and religious gatherings will be suspended during the period. Personal care services such as salons and barber shops will only operate at 30 percent of capacity, Roque said.

Indoor recreational establishments may not operate, while outdoor tourist attractions can only accept 30 percent capacity, he added.

The lockdown was announced two days after experts called for a two-week “circuit breaker lockdown” to prevent a “catastrophic” surge in Covid-19 cases due to the delta variant.

A new surge was already in its early stage in Metro Manila, with at least 1,000 cases daily, said OCTA Research Group, an independent think tank that produces forecasts on the spread of Covid-19 in the Philippines.

According to projections by OCTA, the daily cases of Covid-19 in Metro Manila could spike to up to 13,000 by the end of August if current quarantine restrictions were not heightened to a hard lockdown.

The Philippines’ total Covid-19 caseload was at more than 1.57 million on Thursday, when the Department of Health reported 5,735 additional cases. The death toll was up 176 to 27,577.

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