The Latest: Philippines extends virus lockdown to mid-May

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A man rides his pedicab with a slogan to remind people to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Manila, Philippines on Monday, April 26, 2021. COVID-19 infections in the Philippines surged past 1 million Monday in the latest grim milestone as officials assessed whether to extend a monthlong lockdown in Manila and outlying provinces amid a deadly spike or relax it to fight recession, joblessness and hunger. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is extending an already monthlong lockdown by two weeks as the country’s worst coronavirus infection spike starts to ease but remains alarming.

President Rodrigo Duterte said in televised remarks Thursday night that the second-most restrictive lockdown level will now run through May 14 in metropolitan Manila and four nearby provinces, a region of more than 25 million people. Mayors, however, cut a nine-hour night curfew in metropolitan Manila to six hours to help battered businesses.

Duterte is warning mayors and village chiefs that they face jail if they don’t prevent gatherings and other events that violate the pandemic restrictions.

Confirmed coronavirus infections in the Philippines soared past 1 million Monday, with deaths now at more than 17,000, the second highest in Southeast Asia.

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