MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has extended until May 15 a lockdown in the capital Manila, his spokesman said on Friday, stretching to eight weeks one of the world’s strictest community quarantines to curb coronavirus infections.
The measures will be expanded to other regions with big outbreaks but modified in lower-risk areas, which would see a partial resumption of work, transport and commerce, Harry Roque told reporters.
Television broadcast images on Friday of a crisis panel meeting where Duterte had made the decision late the previous day. He even offered a reward of 50 million pesos ($986,000) to any Filipino who could create a vaccine.
After China and Italy, but just a few days before Spain, the Philippines became the third country to order tight lockdown and home quarantine, even though it had only a fraction of the infections and deaths of nations that took similar measures.
The government has announced a PHP 27.1 billion fiscal package (about 0.15 percent of 2019 GDP), which comprises the following measures: additional purchase of COVID 19 testing kits and health equipment; social protection for vulnerable workers; and support to the tourism and agriculture sectors.