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Granular COVID-19 lockdowns return to city of Manila

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Granular COVID-19 lockdowns return to city of Manila
A cop joins rounds as the local government imposed a seven-day granular lockdown on Block 41 Zones 4, 5, and 9 at Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong City on Friday midnight, March 12, 2021. The STAR / Miguel de Guzman, file
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman, file

MANILA, Philippines — Three areas in Manila remain under granular lockdown and are the only areas in Metro Manila under strict quarantine as the holiday season ends, the Manila Police District said Tuesday afternoon. 

The three quarantine areas are still an improvement from the eight granular lockdowns recorded in the city on December 24, which marked the first granular lockdowns since the Philippine National Police first recorded zero granular lockdowns in the capital region in the first week of December. 

The three areas with the highest number of active COVID-19 cases are Tondo 1 with 29, San Andres with 12 and Pandacan and Sampaloc with seven each. 

According to data from the National Capital Region Police Office, only Manila has areas under granular lockdown in Metro Manila. The three areas translate to just three households and three individuals under lockdown. Eight cops have been deployed to enforce the lockdowns. 

The development also comes as the Department of Health acknowledged a pronounced uptick in coronavirus infections as the holiday season comes to a close. 

READ: DOH sees increase in Metro Manila's COVID-19 cases, positivity rate

However, according to the OCTA Research Group, the rise in reproduction rate could only be temporary as it was last year and should not yield an increase in restrictions for the time being until the trends get clearer. 

At the same time, the group said it could also “not rule out the possibility” that the cases will also continue to rise for now since the holiday seasons are not yet over.

Moreno: No reason to worry about lockdowns

In a statement sent to media Tuesday afternoon, Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno also highlighted that the lockdowns were normal responses and not necessarily cause for concern. 

"The lockdown anyway is similar to the policy of the [coronavirus task force] that when there is a bit of negligence and the COVID-19 infection grows in one area, it is normal to lockdown that one area,” he said in mixed Filipino and English in an interview aired over DZRH.

"We would continue to have those kinds of surgical lockdown because what we want is for the business to open, for people to work, for employment, we will gradually normalize," he also said. 

However, the capital city's chief executive urged residents to continue practicing physical distancing and follow all health and safety guidelines to prevent a potential spike in cases later on. 

"We still need to be responsible. We need to wear face masks, the mask is a must, then let's get vaccinated. That's all we need."

As of December 26, the city has a total of 91 active cases with a total of 90,501 recoveries and 1,763 deaths. The Manila Health Department said they recorded 11 new active cases, five new recoveries and zero deaths for that day. 

Metro Manila along with the rest of the country is set to remain under Alert Level 2 status for the rest of the year. 

Around the country, only nine areas in total are under granular lockdown to isolate 15 individuals. 

To date, health authorities have recorded 2.84 million coronavirus cases in the country, 9,750 of which are still classified as active cases. — Franco Luna 

COVID-19 PANDEMIC ISKO MORENO PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
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