More than 27 million people in the Philippines went back under stricter lockdown measures on Tuesday after the number of coronavirus infections surged since last month.
The surge has prompted health workers to warn that the country was losing its battle against COVID-19.
Public transport, private and government offices and other commercial services were again suspended in the capital of Metro Manila and the four surrounding provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.
The five areas were put under what is locally called modified enhanced community quarantine for the next 15 days.
Under the protocol, people are prohibited from going out of their homes unless for essential trips, gatherings are limited to five people and dine-in services in restaurants are not allowed.
Catholic churches were again closed to the public, as were salons, gyms and other establishments offering aesthetic services.
Some cities in Metro Manila again imposed a liquor ban.
The Philippines’ total caseload was at 106,330 as of Monday, with 2,104 deaths, according to the Department of Health.
The cases have been increasing since the government began to ease restrictions in June in a bid to revive the economy.
The spike prompted doctors, nurses and other health care workers to call on the government to recalibrate the response to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
One of the doctors who joined the call warned that if the infections are not halted, “we will be the next New York City, where people die on stretchers, in the emergency rooms or at home because the hospitals are full.” (dpa/NAN)