Manila, Philippines | A new lockdown came into effect in Manila on Friday as Philippine authorities try to control the rise in cases linked to the delta variant of COVID-19.
Police checkpoints were set up across metro Manila (the capital region where more than 13 million people live), creating long queues, with police checking vehicles to make sure there were only people working for the industries they needed.
Experts have warned that the waves of pollution associated with this highly contagious variant will flood hospitals in the coming weeks if the curfew in the capital is not severely strengthened.
The detention announced last week was extended to Laguna province south of Manila on Thursday. Sanctions have been tightened in other areas where pollution has increased.
The Philippines has registered more than 330 delta cases in recent weeks and officials fear the variant will spread across the archipelago. A total of more than 1.6 million cases have been reported in the country since the outbreak, including 28,000 deaths.
Restrictive measures such as various lockdowns and banning children from going out have left the economy bloodless, destabilizing millions of unemployed and families.
This new restriction could exacerbate the phenomenon of poverty, with the government paying only 4000 pesos (approximately $ 85) per household so far.
Only companies and workers working for the required sectors can continue to work for the next two weeks.
Outdoor sports are allowed, but an eight-hour night curfew is enforced.
“I hope the government can help cover our costs,” Junrell Bihag, a fishmonger, told AFP, acknowledging that his life from the pandemic was “really difficult”.
Thousands of unvaccinated people, including residents, flocked to vaccination centers on Thursday for fear they would be allowed to leave their homes or seek government assistance during the lockdown.
The country is struggling to vaccinate its population due to supply problems and logistical issues. Only 10 million people (9% of the population) have received the two-dose vaccine so far.