World

Philippines records biggest daily jump in coronavirus deaths

Country sees 162 more deaths with a part of Manila to resume lockdown

MANILA: The Philippines reported yesterday its biggest daily jump in coronavirus deaths and warned of a risk of more fatalities and infections after the easing of lockdown restrictions, with the authorities scrambling to verify thousands of suspected cases.

A health ministry official reported 162 new deaths, which is also the biggest single-day jump recorded in South-east Asia to date, and 2,124 new infections. The announcement was delayed from Sunday.

Later yesterday, it announced a further 65 deaths and 836 infections .

The number of infections has more than tripled to 57,006, since June 1 when the government started easing tight restrictions, including allowing public transport, restaurants and malls to open at limited capacities to restart the economy.

The health ministry said it expected total fatalities to rise beyond the current 1,599 with nearly 12,000 suspected positive cases yet to be verified.

President Rodrigo Duterte eased one of the toughest and longest lockdowns in the world in the capital Manila in June to breathe some life back into the economy.

But about 250,000 people in Manila will go back into lockdown, an official said yesterday. Residents in Navotas, one of 16 cities that make up the capital of 12 million people, will have to stay home for a fortnight.

"I am not sure if this is a solution, but I am certain that if I do this the number of cases will not increase," Navotas mayor Toby Tiangco told a radio station.

Meanwhile Indonesia reported 1,282 new coronavirus cases yesterday, bringing its total count to 76,981, Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto told a televised news briefing.

Deaths from Covid-19 rose by 50 yesterday, he said, bringing Indonesia's total to 3,656, the highest in East Asia outside China.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said the coronavirus outbreak was expected to peak in August or September, Antara reported yesterday, two to three months later than earlier projected.

"Based on data the peak is (now) estimated to be in August or September, that's the latest estimate I received, but if we don't do something the numbers could be different," Mr Joko said as cited by Antara news agency. A government adviser had said in April that cases were likely to peak in May or June, with the number of infections expected to reach around 95,000

Over at Thailand, the country ordered security to be stepped up at its land borders yesterday after concerns surged over a possible second wave of coronavirus infections, following the arrests of thousands of illegal migrants in the past month.

Since the start of June, authorities have arrested 3,000 migrant workers for overland entry attempts, said Mr Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for Thailand's task force on the disease.

With no locally transmitted case reported for more than six weeks, Thailand's virus tally since January stands at 3,220 infections and 58 deaths.

Malaysia recorded seven new Covid-19 cases yesterday, bringing its total number of infections to 8,725 cases. The death toll remains at 122. - REUTERS, AFP, THE STAR

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