Manila: More than 25 million people in the Philippines, a Catholic majority country, will not be celebrating Easter as normal this year as a strict lockdown has been imposed in the capital and nearby provinces.
Presidential Spokesperson, Harry Roque announced the lockdown on Saturday after the country reported 9,838 new Covid-19 cases -- the country's highest single-day increase, according to official state media Philippines News Agency. The Philippines has reported more than 720,000 coronavirus cases, including 13,170 deaths, making it one of the worst affected countries in Asia, CNN reported.
According to the Philippines Department of Health, the country has seen a sharp rise in daily reported cases since February and is now reporting more than 9,000 new cases a day.
The lockdown begins Monday and will be imposed till April 4 or Easter Sunday, the day when Christians often celebrate with special church services.
The measures include a curfew from 6 p.m. until 5 a.m. -- tightened from the previous 10 p.m. curfew. Gatherings of more than 10 people outside are not allowed, and non-household members cannot gather indoors, the government said.
The Philippine National Police has deployed thousands of officers in checkpoint areas to help enforce the rules, according to a PNA report.
Meanwhile, vaccines are being rolled out to medical frontliners, as they are the ones exposed and most at risk of getting Covid, said the National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar secretary, Carlito Galvez, while assuring that everybody in the country will be vaccinated.
The Department of Health has urged people who were not health care workers to refrain from jumping the queue.