Amidst the startling rise in COVID-19 infection rates, the Philippines has decided to extend the level-2 lockdown beyond August 31 in its capital city of Manila. On Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement that while Metro Manila will remain under “modified enhanced community quarantine,” other provinces will observe a lockdown until September 7. The announcement came at the heels of a fresh spike in delta-variant cases driven by community transmission in the archipelagic country.

Personal care services to remain closed in Metro Manila

As per the current restrictions, personal care services including beauty salons, nail parlors and barbershops are instructed to remain closed. Additionally, all indoor and al-fresco-dine-in are also asked to suspend services until further notice, Roque wrote on Twitter. He also instructed religious centers to shut down temporarily. However, “businesses in Metro Manila can function (with) up to 50 percent on-site individuals under restrictions,” the official statement added. Restrictions have also been imposed on six cities along with nine other provinces across the country.

The renewed surge in COVID-19 delta variant cases was witnessed after Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte announced relaxations on June 1 in a bid to get the stagnant economy rolling. Following the steep spike, President Duterte, on August 3, had imposed strict lockdown in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces.

Philippines is one of worst-hit Asian countries by Delta Variant of COVID-19

According to Philippines Department of Health (DOH) bulletin, as many as 2000 Covid-related deaths were reported on August 3, which included more than 1lakh confirmed cases. The capital city itself has recorded over 6.30 lakh cases and 8,826 deaths to date. Other important cities like Calabarzon, Central Luzon and Central Visayas reported 3.17lakh, 1.76lakh and 1.14lakh cases respectively. As of August 27, the country reported 17,000 cases in a single day, which led to the total tally rise up to 19.2 lakh cases in the Philippines.

𝐆𝐎𝐎𝐃 𝐍𝐄𝐖𝐒! Umabot na sa 1 milyong doses ng Sinopharm vaccine ang dumating dito sa ating bansa.

Dumagdag pa rito ang 582,500 doses ng Astrazenica vaccine na dumating noong Biyernes, Agosto 20! pic.twitter.com/HRgB23yUOl

— Harry Roque (@attyharryroque) August 24, 2021

On the vaccination front, Philippines has been able to administer 3.14 crore doses to its citizens under the ongoing inoculation program. About 16 7% of the total population, i.e. about 1.81 crores have been completely vaccinated in the country. Meanwhile, in a bid to accelerate the vaccination rollout, the Philippines has procured 1 million Sinophram and 5.82lakh AstraZeneca jabs on August 24, Roque wrote on Twitter. As per Filipino Finance Secretary, Carlos Dominguez III, the government has aimed to completely inoculate its citizens by January 2022.

Image: AP/PIXABAY (representative)

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