Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced the lockdown Saturday after the country reported 9,838 new Covid-19 cases — the country’s highest single day increase, according to official state media Philippines News Agency. Philippines has reported more than 720,000 coronavirus cases, including 13,170 deaths, making it one of the worst affected countries in Asia.
More than 25 million people across Metro Manila and nearby provinces Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal will be affected by the lockdown.
The lockdown begins Monday, and runs until April 4 — or Easter Sunday, a day when Christians often celebrate with special church services. Religious gatherings are not allowed during the holy week.
The measures include a curfew from 6 p.m. until 5 a.m. — tightened from the previous 10 p.m. curfew. Gatherings of more than 10 people outside are not allowed, and non-household members cannot gather indoors, the government said.
Diners are not allowed to eat in restaurants, although take-out and delivery services can go ahead.
“Do not worry. Our goal is still to ensure that everybody will be vaccinated. But while we do this, the government is prioritizing healthcare workers as they are the most exposed and the most at risk of getting Covid,” National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar secretary Carlito Galvez said.
“More vaccines will arrive, we are sure of that. We just have to wait for our turns to be vaccinated.”