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Asia Minute: COVID-19 Cases Spiking in the Philippines

AP Photo/Aaron Favila

COVID-19 cases are spiking again in the Philippines. The government there is extending a lockdown in the Manila area, and some hospitals are turning patients away.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has extended a lockdown order covering the capital city and surrounding areas for another week until at least next Sunday.

Medical facilities are an increasing focus in the Philippines, especially in and around Manila.

Several hospitals have told local media they can no longer accept walk-in coronavirus patients.

The online news service Rappler reports tents are being set up at least eight hospitals, while Health Department officials are working to create a triage operation involving local government centers.

The system would encourage residents with health issues to check in at a neighborhood facility, which would then funnel the most serious cases to hospitals and clinics while sending others to quarantine areas that are being built and expanded, including some at local schools.

Vaccine distribution remains relatively slow in the Philippines, while new cases have set records in recent days—sometimes more than 12,000 a day.

On Friday, the Philippines will be added to the list of countries whose residents are barred from entry into the United Kingdom, unless they are British or Irish nationals.

Pakistan and Bangladesh are other Asian countries being added to the so-called red list—joining about three-dozen other nations, mostly in Africa and Latin America.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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