The Philippines has reported its biggest spike in coronavirus infections in recent days as the government eases quarantine restrictions to revive the economy, raising the possibility its crowded capital may be placed back under strict lockdown.
The Department of Health reported a total of 2,434 cases in recent days, most of them in metropolitan Manila, raising the number of confirmed cases nationwide to more than 44,250, including 1,297 deaths. Infections and deaths are among the highest in Southeast Asia.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano said there’s a possibility the capital area may revert back to lockdown if the uptick continues and hospitals get filled to capacity again.
At least one major Manila hospital, the Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center, said its COVID-19 ward was running at full capacity and appealed that new patients be taken elsewhere.
President Rodrigo Duterte eased the lockdown in metropolitan Manila, an epicenter of infections, on June 1 to bolster an economy on the brink of recession. One major commercial and tourism region, central Cebu city, was placed back under a strict lockdown in mid-June due to alarming infection spikes.