MANILA, Philippines (AP) – The Philippine government lifted its blockade for a week on Monday after alarming increases in coronavirus infections began to weigh on many hospitals in and around the capital.
President Rodrigo Duterte last week blocked the four surrounding counties of Metropolitan Manila, a region of more than 25 million people, with 10,000 infections per day. Roman Catholic leaders have postponed Holy Week և Easter’s online events after all public gatherings, including places of worship, were temporarily banned.
The Philippines Managed Lung Center became the last hospital in the metropolitan area to announce over the weekend that it could no longer accept patients once its COVID-19 ward reached full capacity, with its ambulance running at double capacity. ,
“It simply came to our notice then. We are very full. In fact, the hospital has been full for the past two weeks, “said Dr. Norberto Francisco, a spokesman for the Lung Center.
Other hospitals said they could expand the capacity of the bed but did not have enough medical staff, in part because many had become infected.
The Duterte administration has been increasingly criticized for mismanaging the epidemic, but Presidential spokesman Harry Rocken says the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants comes as a surprise.
“No one could have predicted how contagious these new versions would be, as a result of which we have these balloon numbers,” Roken told ABS CBN News, adding that officials would open a 110-person intensive care unit at a hospital in the capital. The region was preparing to launch mobile COVID-19 intensive care centers on Monday.
The Philippines reports more than 795,000 COVID-19 cases, with 13,425 deaths, the highest after South Indonesia in Southeast Asia.
In other parts of Asia և Pacific.
– Citywide tests in the Chinese border town of Myanmar have found more than 20 cases of coronavirus infection. The National Health Commission said Monday that it had increased its outbreak to 100. Ruili is trying to vaccinate all of its 300,000 inhabitants in an attempt to take control. an outbreak that is something of an anomaly in a country that completely eliminates local transmission. Five of the newly reported cases were in people who showed no symptoms, bringing the total to 51 cases of COVID-19 in the city, with 56 cases of asymptomatic infection. These categories are calculated separately in China, which treats COVID-19 patients in hospitals and isolates people without symptoms. Some of those infected are Myanmar nationals, and authorities have offered free vaccinations to working foreigners living in the city. Residents have ordered a quarantine at home, and non-core businesses have been closed. Security measures have been tightened along the porous border to prevent illegal crossings. China has slowly started vaccinating its 1.4 billion people, despite having four approved vaccines, but has now expanded the nationwide vaccine in an effort to build herd immunity.