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Politics Lockdown extended in Philippines amid COVID-19 case surge

17:50  05 april  2021
17:50  05 april  2021 Source:   thehill.com

Philippines man dies after being forced to do 300 squats for breaking Covid-19 curfew

  Philippines man dies after being forced to do 300 squats for breaking Covid-19 curfew A man in the Philippines has died after being forced to do 300 squats for breaching Covid curfews, making him the latest victim of the country's often brutal approach to enforcing restrictions. © Google On April 1, Darren Manaog Peñaredondo, 28, left his home in General Trias, a city in Cavite province, which is under lockdown due to rising Covid-19 cases, to buy water, his family said, according to CNN affiliate CNN Philippines. But he was stopped by police and told to do "pumping exercises" 100 times, according to the report.

A lockdown in several provinces of the Philippines including its capital, Manila, was extended by one week on Monday as officials grapple with a surge of cases blamed on new variants of COVID-19.

Rodrigo Duterte standing on a stage: Lockdown extended in Philippines amid COVID-19 case surge © Getty Images Lockdown extended in Philippines amid COVID-19 case surge

The Associated Press reported a spokesperson for President Rodrigo Duterte's administration made the announcement on a local news channel while adding that the government was setting up mobile intensive care units around Manila.

"No one could have probably foreseen how infectious these new variants are and as a result of which we have these ballooning numbers," Harry Roque said, according to the AP.

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Numerous hospitals in the country have begun refusing walk-in patients due to a spike in hospitalizations, according to the news service, while others are facing staff shortages.

Duterte originally instituted the lockdown last week, banning all public gatherings including religious services ahead of Easter weekend.

The government is still prioritizing healthcare workers in its vaccine rollout as it struggles to obtain more doses of COVID-19 vaccines. The country received its first batch in February, after delays, via a donation from China's government.

"Do not worry. Our goal is still to ensure that everybody will be vaccinated," Carlito Galvez, a government official heading up the country's vaccination program, said last week. "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."

"More vaccines will arrive, we are sure of that. We just have to wait for our turns to be vaccinated," Galvez added.

Many experts have warned that slow progress in vaccinations among populations in poorer nations could contribute to new variants of COVID-19 emerging and an overall slower recovery from the pandemic.

"COVID-19 vaccines should be treated as a global public good and made available to all, rich and poor alike," Duterte said in February, adding that "no one is safe until everyone is safe."

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