Philippines tops Southeast Asia on COVID-19 cases with 3,561 new infections


The Philippines topped Indonesia on Thursday (Aug 6) for having the most COVID-19 infections in Southeast Asia as the health department reported 3,561 new cases, bringing the country’s total to 119,460.

The country’s health department also reported an additional 28 people died due to the virus, bringing the total number of fatalities from the disease to 2,150.

A recent rise in new cases forced the government on Tuesday to return the capital Manila and nearby provinces under strict lockdown for two weeks after restrictions was relaxed in June.

Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan are under so-called “Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine” until Aug 18.

In a new blow for the economy, some businesses have been ordered shut and movement is restricted again in the region, which accounts for a quarter of the country’s population and most of its economic activity.

Hair salons, cinemas and gyms have closed, while restaurants are only allowed to do take-outs. Some businesses are allowed to operate but at a limited capacity.

The government’s announcement came after 80 local groups representing 80,000 doctors and 1 million nurses called for tighter controls, saying the country was losing the fight against the coronavirus.

With economic activity hammered by COVID-19 lockdowns, the Philippine economy plunged in the second quarter of 2020, falling into recession for the first time in 29 years.

The economy shrank by 16.5% in April to June quarter from the same period last year – the biggest slump in the government’s quarterly gross domestic product data dating back to 1981, said the Philippine Statistics Authority. (Source: CNA)