MANILA • The Philippines will extend a night curfew in its capital Manila amid a tightening of curbs in the South-east Asian country to combat a potential surge in cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19, a government official said.
Metropolitan Manila, already subject to a six-hour curfew from 10pm, will bring forward that curfew by two hours to 8pm, said Mr Benjamin Abalos, chair of the region's governing body.
"We are only asking for two weeks. This will stop the virus in the meantime. What's important is our hospitals don't get full," he told a briefing yesterday.
The authorities have deployed police personnel to quarantine checkpoints in Metropolitan Manila, where inbound and outbound travel will be restricted.
The region, home to more than 13 million people, will be placed under strict lockdown from Friday to Aug 20, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said last Friday.
Covid-19 cases in the Philippines exceeded 8,000 a day from last Friday to yesterday. Sunday's recorded tally of 8,735 infections was the highest since May 28.
In the central province of Cebu, the number of cases has overwhelmed healthcare facilities. Two of Cebu City's 15 hospitals were at "critical levels", city councillor David Tumulak said.
Just 200 cases of the Delta variant had been detected in the community, of which 17 were still active, Philippine Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said, although genome testing capacity in the country is limited.
Strict quarantine curbs could help cap the number of active Covid-19 cases at around 25,000 by the end of next month, Mr Roque said in a separate briefing yesterday.