Philippines Duterte puts Metro Manila back under strict lockdown

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President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a reimposition of a strict quarantine status in the country’s National Capital Region (NCR) and surrounding provinces.

This follows an urgent appeal made by the country’s health professionals to put Metro Manila back under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) for the next two weeks, which will be used as a “timeout” to refine the government’s pandemic control strategies, warning that the country’s health care system was on the brink of a collapse.

Instead of an ECQ, however, Malacanang spokesperson Harry Roque said the President has “reverted the NCR, and the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) effective midnight Aug.  4 as recommended by members of his Cabinet.” This will run through Aug.  18.

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Duterte earlier in the day met with key members of his Cabinet to discuss an urgent appeal by medical groups to put Metro Manila back on strict lockdown, warning that the country’s health care system was on the brink of a collapse.

On Saturday, medical associations sent a “distress signal to the nation,” saying: “Our health care system is overwhelmed.”

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