President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines on Sunday ordered Manila and its suburbs to re-enter lockdown for two weeks as the health department reported 5,032 new cases of the coronavirus.
Group gatherings were prohibited, and residents were advised to stay at home. Public transportation was halted, domestic flights and inter-island ferries remained suspended, and the government encouraged biking. Schools will remain shut.
Infections spiked after the government eased lockdown rules and gradually opened up in an effort to jump-start the economy. Hospitals have been overwhelmed, and doctors have warned they are reaching a breaking point. In an appeal to the government on Saturday, the Philippine College of Physicians, the country’s main organization of doctors, warned that the health system “has been overwhelmed.”
This came shortly after Manila’s city government ordered the temporary closure of its two hospitals, citing the growing number of health care workers who have been infected. It said that the city’s health care workers are burned out “with the seemingly endless number of patients trooping to our hospitals for emergency care and admission.”
Total cases in the country now stand at 103,185, with 2,059 deaths.
Mr. Duterte told officials to “strictly enforce the quarantine, especially the lockdown.”
“I have heard the call of different groups from the medical community for a two-week enhanced community quarantine in mega Manila,” he said. “I fully understand why your health workers would like to ask for such a timeout period. They have been in the front lines for months and are exhausted.”
Reporting was contributed by Peter Baker, Benedict Carey, Emily Cochrane, Jill Cowan, Stacy Cowley, Jacey Fortin, Thomas Fuller, Michael Gold, Denise Grady, Jason Gutierrez, Matthew Haag, Maggie Haberman, Javier C. Hernández, Annie Karni, Sarah Kliff, Andrew E. Kramer, Sharon LaFraniere, Dan Levin, Apoorva Mandavilli, Sarah Mervosh, Azi Paybarah, Daniel E. Slotnik, Eileen Sullivan, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Jim Tankersley, Katie Thomas, Noah Weiland, Sameer Yasir and Karen Zraick.