The Philippines on Friday put the Manila metropolitan region under a two-week lockdown as the Southeast Asian country’s health ministry reported 10,623 new coronavirus cases, the biggest one-day jump in infections in nearly four months.
The Philippines is battling one of the largest outbreaks of COVID-19 in Asia, and has seen a steady rise in infections over the past two weeks, which health officials have attributed to the highly contagious delta type of virus.
“The national government should act with local governments aggressively, as if there was already community transmission,” Health Ministry spokeswoman Maria Rosario Verger told a news conference, referring to the highly contagious type.
The increase pushed the number of confirmed cases in the Philippines to more than 1.6 million, while the 247 additional deaths recorded on Friday brought the number of deaths in the country to 28,673.
To enforce lockdown orders, police have set up quarantine checkpoints around the Metro Manila, an urban sprawl of 16 cities with more than 13 million people. Only 9.8 million people, or nearly nine percent of the Philippines’ 110 million population, have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Officials in Manila said they will use the two-week lockdown to vaccinate four million people in the metropolitan area. The Philippines aims to vaccinate up to 70 million people this year.
A total of 450 confirmed cases of the delta variant of COVID-19 have been detected in the Philippines. Experts believe the true number could be much higher, due to the lack of genome sequencing capacity in the country.
– From Reuters, last updated at 6:55 a.m. ET
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What is happening around the world
As of early Friday morning, more than 200.9 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide, according to the coronavirus tracker run by US-based Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll has reached more than 4.2 million.
in a EuropeIn Italy, visitors to museums and theaters must show proof that they have had the COVID-19 vaccine, and show that they have recovered from the coronavirus or have recently tested negative. The certification rule went into effect across the country on Friday. It also applies to gyms, inside restaurants, indoor pools, and crowded outdoor events such as concerts.
in a AfricaSenegal’s Pasteur Institute in Dakar has reached an agreement with US company MedInstill to package COVID-19 shots, according to an EU document, marking a move to become a full-fledged maker of coronavirus vaccines for Africa.
In the Asia Pacific Region, China recorded 80 more locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 on Friday, as the country seeks to control its widest spread since the original outbreak through a combination of lockdowns, mass testing and travel restrictions. Of the new cases, 58 were found in the eastern city of Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, where the highly contagious delta type has spread among airport workers in the provincial capital of Nanjing.
The update came as the Chinese president pledged to provide two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the world within this year, further increasing China’s commitment as the largest exporter of shots. The figure likely includes the 770 million doses already donated or exported by China and it is not clear whether it includes the COVAX agreement for Chinese producers to supply 550 million doses.
Hundreds of millions of Chinese shots, the vast majority of which are from Sinopharm and Sinovac, have already been given to people in many countries around the world. However, there are concerns about whether they provide adequate protection against the new highly transmissible delta variant.
In the Middle east, Iran on Thursday reported 38,674 new cases, down slightly from Wednesday’s high of 39,357. The country, which is dealing with another rapid increase in cases, reported 434 additional deaths on Thursday.
In the AmericasUnited Airlines has become the latest airline to require that all of its US-based employees be fully vaccinated.
The news came after chief infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that the United States is working to give additional COVID-19 booster doses to Americans with weakened immune systems as quickly as possible, as cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise. .
The United States is joining Germany, France and Israel in giving booster doses, ignoring a plea from the World Health Organization to delay so more people around the world can get their first shot.
— From The Associated Press, Reuters, and CBC News, last updated at 10:50 a.m. ET