MANILA (UPDATE) - The city government of Manila has ordered a lockdown in several villages in the capital to arrest an "alarming" rise in COVID-19 cases, Mayor Isko Moreno said Wednesday.
"So far, with the numbers we are seeing, it's alarming and this should be addressed and this should be controlled," he told ANC.
Barangays 351 and 725 as well as the Malate Bayview Mansion and Hop Inn Hotel in Barangay 699 will be placed under a 4-day lockdown beginning Thursday, March 11.
He said the city government won't "think twice" to impose stricter quarantine measures in other areas if infections continue to rise.
Increased mobility and people's failure to comply with COVID-19 protocols are among reasons driving the surge, Moreno said.
"We continue to ask [and] guide them that there's still danger. While it is true that there is vaccination going on, it addressed only a particular sector of our society, which is the health care workers," he added.
The city mayor lamented that their months of reining in the COVID-19 spread had been wasted.
"'Yong tiniis natin na 5 buwan napanatag natin 'yong numero ng impeksiyon ay nabalewala lang ng 2 linggo and that is alarming," he said.
(What we endured for 5 months where we stabilized the number of infections was wasted in just 2 weeks...)
He noted though that hospitals in Manila were still capable of handling the recent flare-up in COVID-19 infections.
On Tuesday, Manila recorded 154 new active coronavirus cases, raising its tally to 988. The city only logged 372 active cases on Feb. 1.
Manila has so far tallied 29,444 COVID-19 infections, of which 27,639 recovered and 817 died.
A group of experts had warned that the increase in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila in the past week was higher than the surge in infections in the capital region last year.
The OCTA Research Group forecast the country would tally 5,000 to 6,000 new cases per day by the end of March, with Metro Manila reaching 2,000 new daily cases per day by March 21, and 3,000 new cases per day by March 31 if the current reproduction rate continues.
It urged high-risk local governments to further intensify their anti-virus efforts by implementing strict localized lockdowns and expand testing, contact tracing and quarantine facilities.
3,000 VACCINATED HEALTH WORKERS
Amid the spike in coronavirus infections, the city government has so far inoculated 3,047 health workers.
Last week, health authorities started administering the vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech. On Tuesday, Manila started giving the shots made by British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and Oxford University to elderly health workers or those above 60.
Both vaccines were granted regulatory approval for emergency use in the Philippines.
"Ang bakunang nasa refrigerator walang bisa 'yan. Ang mabisang bakuna ay nasa braso natin. So, take the opportunity. 'Yon ang lagi kong panawagan," Moreno said.
(A vaccine inside the refrigerator is no use. An effective vaccine is the one that has been injected in our arms... That's my call.)
Manila has secured 800,000 doses of vaccine from AstraZeneca, which will be used to inoculate 400,000 residents.
Thousands of residents have pre-registered for the city's vaccine program. They will receive the COVID-19 shots after all medical frontliners, the elderly and teachers have been inoculated.
The city government expects the vaccines to arrive in June at the earliest, Moreno said.