clearn.png
Saturday December 4th, 2021 6:04PM

Philippines weighs extending lockdown as COVID cases top 1M

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Coronavirus infections surged past 1 million in the Philippines on Monday as officials assess whether to extend a monthlong lockdown in the Manila region amid a grim spike in cases or relax it to fight a recession, joblessness and hunger.

The Department of Health reported 8,929 new infections on Monday, bringing the country’s total to 1,006,428, including 16,853 deaths. The totals are the second highest in Southeast Asia after Indonesia.

The Philippines imposed its first virus lockdown in March last year, confining millions of people to their homes and shutting public transport and most businesses. The heavy restrictions were eased later in the year but the economy still contracted by 9.6% in 2020, with unemployment and hunger at their worst in years.

Infections, however, spiked again last month to some of the worst levels in Asia, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration to reimpose a lockdown in the Manila region, the country’s financial and commercial hub with more than 25 million people. Several hospitals in the metropolis reported being overwhelmed, with new COVID-19 patients waiting in hospital driveways, ambulances and cars.

Hospital officials say many health workers have been infected or have had to take a break due to stress and fatigue.

Despite a slight decline in new cases, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said he believes the current lockdown should be extended by another week or two. Economic officials have warned that a prolonged lockdown would increase unemployment and slow an economic recovery.

“Our health system’s capacity hasn’t improved that much,” Duque told the DZMM radio network, adding the shortage of hospital intensive care units in some cities remains critical.

The Philippine Red Cross said surging infections have placed hospitals “under siege,” and that it has set up field hospital tents and converted unused classrooms and buildings to quarantine patients. “We urgently need more medical volunteers,” said Sen. Richard Gordon, who heads the Philippine Red Cross. “Urgent extra medical care is a matter of life and death.”

Duterte and his administration have faced widespread criticism over his handling of the pandemic and the sluggish start last month of a vaccination campaign which has been hampered by supply problems, delivery delays and public hesitancy.

Concerned Filipinos have set up sidewalk stalls across the country marked “community pantries” to hand out donated rice, noodles, eggs, vegetables and other food items to the poor. The stalls have drawn swarms of people, sparking concerns from lockdown enforcers.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque tried to paint a more optimistic outlook. While he acknowledged the number of infections has ballooned, he stressed that most patients have recovered and the government is taking steps to make intensive care units available for patients with severe infections.

“Let’s not focus on the total figures. Let’s look at the figures of nearly 900,000 who have recovered and our case fatality rate that is low based on the world average,” Roque said in a televised briefing. “So, I don’t think it is a negative reflection.”

Cabinet officials and medical experts are to meet Tuesday to recommend whether to continue the lockdown to Duterte, who may announce a decision on Wednesday, Roque said.

___

AP journalist Joeal Calupitan contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Health, AP World News, AP Business
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
LEADING OFF: D-backs keep pitching amid no-hitter debate
Merrill Kelly starts for the Arizona Diamondbacks when they host Fernando Tatis Jr. and the Padres following a dominant pitching performance in a doubleheader at Atlanta
10:03PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Indians top Twins 5-3 in 10 innings on Luplow 2-run homer
Jordan Luplow hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning off Alex Colomé, giving the Cleveland Indians a 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins in their series opener
9:53PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Philippines weighs extending lockdown as COVID cases top 1M
Coronavirus infections have surged past 1 million in the Philippines, as officials assess whether to extend a monthlong lockdown in the Manila region amid a deadly spike or relax it to fight joblessness and hunger
9:36PM ( 33 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Continental Europe could allow US tourists back this summer
Officials say the European Union is completing plans to allow American tourists to travel to the 27-nation bloc this summer
7:12PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Ontario getting military help for pandemic surge
Ontario will be getting help from Canada’s military in dealing with a surge of coronavirus infections, while several other Canadian provinces are tightening health restrictions in hopes of avoiding a similar situation
6:30PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Sanofi to produce Moderna coronavirus vaccine
The French pharmaceutical company Sanofi will help manufacture the Moderna coronavirus vaccine beginning in September, joining other companies assisting with production of one of the three vaccines now approved in the U.S. Under the agreement announced Monday, Sanofi will handle final manufacturing steps, including filling, inspecting and labeling vaccine vials and packaging
5:25PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Health
US weighs policy on Venezuela as Maduro signals flexibility
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government is intensifying efforts to court the Biden administration as the new U.S. president weighs whether to risk a political backlash in Florida and ease up on sanctions seeking to isolate the socialist leader
8:04PM ( 2 hours ago )
Harris meets virtually with Guatemalan president
Vice President Kamala Harris has told Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei that the U.S. is planning to increase relief to the Northern Triangle region and “strengthen our cooperation” to better manage the steep increase in migration at the U.S. southern border
5:39PM ( 4 hours ago )
Italian jury to soon mull Americans' fate over slain officer
An Italian jury will begin deliberating next week the fate of two young American men on trial for the slaying of a Carabinieri police officer while they were vacationing in Rome in 2019
4:12PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP World News
Justice Dept. opens policing probe over Breonna Taylor death
Attorney General Merrick Garland says the Justice Department is opening a sweeping probe into policing in Louisville, Kentucky over the March 2020 death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot to death by police during a raid at her home
8:15PM ( 1 hour ago )
Jeff Bridich steps down as general manager of Rockies
Jeff Bridich is stepping down as general manager of the Colorado Rockies
8:00PM ( 2 hours ago )
Trevor Lawrence adding cryptocurrency to his playbook
Trevor Lawrence, the likely No. 1 overall NFL draft pick, has signed an endorsement deal with cryptocurrency investment app Blockfolio
7:39PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
LEADING OFF: D-backs keep pitching amid no-hitter debate
Merrill Kelly starts for the Arizona Diamondbacks when they host Fernando Tatis Jr. and the Padres following a dominant pitching performance in a doubleheader at Atlanta
10:03PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Indians top Twins 5-3 in 10 innings on Luplow 2-run homer
Jordan Luplow hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning off Alex Colomé, giving the Cleveland Indians a 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins in their series opener
9:53PM ( 16 minutes ago )
More patrols, fewer boaters for SpaceX splashdown Saturday
NASA and SpaceX are promising more Coast Guard patrols and fewer pleasure boaters for this weekend's splashdown by four astronauts
9:31PM ( 38 minutes ago )
Dunn returns, but Hawks fall 100-86 to Pistons
Jerami Grant and Frank Jackson scored 18 points apiece to lift the Detroit Pistons to a 100-86 victory over the Atlanta Hawks
9:29PM ( 40 minutes ago )
US marks slowest population growth since the Depression
The first numbers from the 2020 census are out and they show that America’s population growth has declined to its slowest rate since the Great Depression — a total now of just under 331.5 million
9:14PM ( 55 minutes ago )