Manila readies for possible lockdown due to Delta variant

MANILA, Philippines — The city government of Manila is preparing for a possible lockdown in the nation’s capital amid the rise of cases of the Delta variant of the coronavirus in the country.

In a statement, the city government said that Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso called an emergency meeting on Wednesday, July 28, with local government health officials to discuss mitigation strategies against the spread of the Delta variant.

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The Manila chief executive said he coordinated with the directors of the six district hospitals, the Manila COVID-19 Field Hospital and the Manila Health Department in case of another surge of COVID-19 cases.

“We don’t want to hear about people who died in the parking lot because there is no more space in the hospital. That will only just add to the pain,” Domagoso said.

“So now with the Delta variant, it’s a good thing that we have a facility that can serve the public. Everyone is welcome here,” the mayor added.

As it currently stands, the local governments of both Quezon City and San Juan City have confirmed Delta variant cases in their localities, with the former saying that local transmission is a possibility.

Domagoso disclosed Wednesday that he tasked the Manila Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Office, the Manila Barangay Bureau, and the Manila Police Department to alert its ipersonnel in case granular, or smaller-scale, lockdowns are needed.

The PNP has already expressed willingness to enforce tighter restrictions should President Rodrigo Duterte issue the order. 

To date, 1.56 million coronavirus infections have been recorded in the Philippines.

However, the OCTA Research Group and the health department remain in disagreement over whether or not a surge in cases is taking place in the capital region, with the Department of Health claiming there is “no definitive evidence” yet that the capital region is seeing a surge.

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As of noon on Wednesday, about 642 active cases and 66,582 recoveries have been recorded in the capital city of Manila. 

The six district hospitals currently have a 32% bed capacity occupancy rate; a 65% bed capacity occupancy rate for the Manila COVID-19 Field Hospital; and a 9% occupancy rate for the COVID-19 quarantine facility.

“The City of Manila has actually been preparing for the worst-case scenario over the past few months. Even before we had this surge, we have kept on adding to our quarantine facilities and other resources in response to the pandemic,” Domagoso said.

Reporting by Nadine Castro

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