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Manila may be locked down again if coronavirus cases keep rising

MANILA/JAKARTA: Manila may be locked down again if coronavirus cases continue to spike, Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano said yesterday

The Philippines reported 2,099 new cases yesterday, of which 998 cases were in Metro Manila, the Department of Health said.

More than 300 districts in Metro Manila are still reporting Covid-19 clusters. The overall death toll hit 1,303 after six fatalities. One major Manila hospital, the Chinese General Hospital and Medical Centre, said its Covid-19 ward was running at full capacity and appealed for new patients be taken elsewhere, Xinhua news agency reported. Some other hospitals are also refusing patients.

Health officials said earlier that cases were rising again because of the "increased contact among the population", The Straits Times reported.

President Rodrigo Duterte lifted a three-month lockdown on June 1, as he sought to revive an economy that had nearly stalled.

The government has allowed offices, factories, logistics hubs, malls, restaurants, salons, sports facilities and churches to reopen, with strict social distancing rules.

Buses, trains, jeepneys, motorised rickshaws, taxis and ride-sharing vehicles are back on the road, The Straits Times reported.

With more people out, the number of infections has risen.

Among other nations in South-east Asia, Indonesia reported 1,209 new infections and 70 new deaths yesterday. The case total is 64,958 and number of fatalities at 3,241, Reuters quoted Mr Achmad Yurianto, a Health Ministry official, as saying.

Indonesia's Agriculture Ministry got into some bother when it said it plans to release a eucalyptus-based "antivirus necklace".

Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo claimed it could help prevent Covid-19 transmission. The ministry quickly retracted the claims after backlash from experts. Now it says the product is a "health accessory" for aromatherapy, the Jakarta Post reported.

Meanwhile, Malaysia recorded five new cases yesterday, of which three were imported. This brings the total to 8,668 infections with the death toll remaining at 12, The Star reported.

WORLD