Asia Today: Manila back under lockdown as virus cases surge

Full Screen
1 / 9

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Police operate a checkpoint Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, outside Manila, Philippines, as the capital is placed on another lockdown in the hopes of controlling the surge of coronavirus cases. Commuter trains, buses and other public vehicles stayed off the main roads of the Philippine capital Tuesday and police were again staffing checkpoints to restrict public travel. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

MANILA – Commuter trains, buses and other public vehicles stayed off the main roads of the Philippine capital Tuesday and police were again staffing checkpoints to restrict public travel as surging virus cases forced another lockdown.

Officials deployed dozens of shuttle buses, along with army trucks, to ferry stranded medical personnel and workers of authorized businesses. Most domestic flights to and from the capital were cancelled, and night curfews will return in places.

Crowds trooped to some supermarkets Monday to stock up on food after the hasty return to a lockdown sparked panic-buying.

The lockdown is milder than was first one imposed, which largely confined most people to their homes for months, but is more severe than the quarantine restrictions the capital had been under recently. It is being imposed in metropolitan Manila and outlying provinces for two weeks.

Businesses previously allowed to partly reopen, including barbershops, gyms, dine-in restaurants and tourist destinations, will again be closed. Authorized companies including banks, health and food processing firms must shuttle their employees between home and work. Travelling by bike, motorcycle and private car is allowed for essential reasons, but mass transit will be closed.

President Rodrigo Duterte agreed to reinstate the lockdown after medical groups warned the health care system was being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. Health officials reported a record-high daily tally of 6,352 new infections Tuesday, bringing the country’s total to more than 112,500, including 2,115 deaths.

In other developments in Asia and the Pacific:

— India’s daily increase in infections topped 50,000 for a seventh straight day. Tuesday’s spike of 52,050 cases recorded in the past 24 hours took the national total to 1,855,745, according to the Health Ministry database. The ministry also reported 803 new deaths, taking total fatalities up to 38,938. Several political leaders have either tested positive for the coronavirus or gone into quarantine over the last few days. Since Sunday, India’s powerful home minister Amit Shah and the chiefs of two big states have been hospitalized with COVID-19. On Monday, Tripura state’s chief minister, Biplab Deb, and India’s Law and Justice Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, also went into isolation.