Manila Goes Into Lockdown as Delta Variant Cases Soar in Philippines

Motorists queue at a checkpoint on the first day of a two-week lockdown to prevent the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus Delta variant, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, August 6, 2021. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

The more aggressive Delta variant of Covid-19, detected in the Philippines in mid-July, has spread across much of the country, reaching 13 of 17 regions, health officials have said.

On Sunday, the Philippines reported a sharp rise in daily Covid fatalities, with 287 deaths, the highest daily increase in four months. A further 9,671 new infections were also confirmed.

The national capital region of Manila, home to almost 14 million people, was placed under lockdown last week in an attempt to slow the spread of the Delta variant.

The variant has led to record case numbers in countries across south-east Asia, and it is feared the Philippines could experience a similar rise. The country’s cases had fallen after a severe outbreak four months ago but Covid transmission has begun to increase.

“We saw a decline since our peak in cases in the first week of April, but since mid-July cases started to slowly rise again,” said the Department of Health undersecretary Maria Rosette Vergeire⁩ on Monday. It is probable cases would increase further, she added, as it would take two to three weeks for the newly imposed restrictions to affect case numbers.

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SOURCE: The Guardian, Rebecca Ratcliffe