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Philippines orders 24 million in and around Manila into virus lockdown

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The Philippines announced Saturday that more than 24 million people in and around Manila will go into lockdown next week, as hospitals in the capital struggle to cope with a surge in coronavirus infections.

The tougher restrictions in the country's economic heartland -- which accounts for about a fifth of the population -- come as more contagious variants of the virus fuel a resurgence in cases.

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The week-long rules announced by presidential spokesman Harry Roque apply to Metro Manila and four surrounding provinces, which have already been placed in a travel bubble to try to prevent the spike from spreading across the country.

(FILES) File photo taken on March 25, 2020 shows a policeman wearing a facemask and standing guard at a checkpoint after the government imposed an enhanced quarantine as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Manila. - The Philippines announced on March 27, 2021, that more than 24 million people in and around Manila will go into lockdown next week, as hospitals in the capital struggle to cope with a surge in coronavirus infections. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP)


"The virus is the enemy, not the government," Roque said.

"While we're at home we expect the infection rates to slow. The government is ready to provide assistance."

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From Monday, people will have to work from home unless they are considered essential workers and public transport will be halted.

All mass gatherings will be banned, night-time curfews from 6:00 pm to 5:00 am will be enforced and non-essential businesses will be shut.

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