MANILA and nearby cities will remain under a general lockdown until July 15, while a strict lockdown in Cebu City, where there has been a surge in coronavirus infections will be kept, President Rodrigo R. Duterte said late Tuesday.
Aside from Metro Manila, the provinces of Benguet, Cavite, Rizal, Leyte and Southern Leyte, and the cities of Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Ormoc will continue to be under a general community quarantine.
Meanwhile, the lockdown in Talisay City in Cebu province was relaxed to a general community quarantine along with Minglanilla and Consolacion towns. The rest of the province has been placed under a modified general community quarantine.
“Cebu is now the hotspot for COVID-19,” Mr. Duterte said in a televised speech. “Why? Because many of you chose not to obey.”
The President also criticized Talisay City, which he said appeared like a marketplace everyday. “You’ve been on a drinking spree, drinking, gambling and almost nonchalant of the dangers that are lurking around,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.
Mr. Duterte earlier ordered Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, a former military chief, to supervise the lockdown of Cebu City’s almost a million people.
Abra, Baguio City, Ifugao, Kalinga, Ilocos Norte, La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Isabela, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Angeles City, Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Lucena City, Palawan, Puerto Princesa City, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Naga City will be kept under an easier modified general lockdown.
The same is true for Capiz. Iloilo, Iloilo City, Negros Occidental, Bacolod City, Bohol, Negros Oriental, Tacloban City, Western Samar, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur, Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao City, Davao de Oro, Cotabato, South Cotabato, Agusan del Norte, Butuan City, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao.
Mr. Duterte locked down the entire Luzon island in mid-March, suspending work, classes and public transportation to contain a coronavirus pandemic. People should stay home except to buy food and other basic goods, he said.
He extended the strict lockdown on the island twice and thrice for Metro Manila, where infections have been mostly concentrated. But Health authorities have cited a spike in cases in Cebu City in central Philippines.
Almost all industries except for leisure have reopened under a general lockdown but with limited capacity.
The Department of Health reported 999 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, bringing the total to 38,511.
The death toll rose to 1,270 after four more patients died, while recoveries increased by 205 to 10,438, it said in a bulletin.
Of the new cases, 595 were reported in the past three days, while 404 were reported late.
Also yesterday, Food and Drug Administration chief Rolando Enrique Domingo said the drug Remdesivir, which is used to treat Ebola, has been shown to shorten a patient’s illness by four days to 11 days.
He said the drug may be given to patients who are not enrolled in the clinical trials based on a “compassionate special permit. Nine people have been issued the permit so far, he said.
Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III cited the need to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Metro Manila and the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) region, which account for as much as 67% of the economy. Calabarzon is under a modified general lockdown except for Cavite and Rizal.
Localized lockdowns at the village, municipal, and even within companies could be enforced so the economy won’t get hit in case a spike in infections happens in some areas, he said at the event of Mr. Duterte’s Tuesday address. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas and GMC