MANILA (UPDATE)- Areas in more than 130 Pasay City barangays have been placed under granular lockdown, the chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Thursday, stressing the impact of COVID-19 variants in the city.
MMDA Chairman Benjamin Abalos Jr. said in a public briefing that at least 136 areas in Pasay are under granular lockdown, with two barangays under total lockdown due to surge in COVID-19 cases in the city caused by virus mutations.
Abalos said that COVID-19 variants have spread in Pasay since Feb. 22, prompting officials to intensify contact-tracing in the city.
"Ang contact-tracing po nila ngayon is for one contact tracer for every 29 na katao," he said.
Abalos noted 986 new COVID-19 cases were logged on March 27, the city's highest daily tally ever. But due to the lockdown in Metro Manila from March 29 to April 11 in response to the variants, average daily COVID-19 cases have declined in Pasay with 499 new coronavirus infections on April 14.
"Ang pinupunto ko po rito, talagang kakaiba po 'tong bagong variants na 'to, talagang binulaga po tayo ngayon," he said.
Pasay Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano earlier April confirmed that 3 of the country's first 5 cases of the South African COVID-19 variant were reported in the city.
The Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the country's main gateway, is in Pasay. Authorities have intensified anti-coronavirus policies at the airport due to surge in new COVID-19 cases in the country, including infections by UK, South African, and Brazilian COVID-19 variants.
The health department last March also confirmed a new variant first detected in the country, calling it P.3. The Philippine Genome Center had said it could have developed locally and may be more transmissible but did not suggest it has increased pathogenicity.
As of Thursday, the Philippines has registered a total of 904,285 COVID-19 cases with 15,594 deaths and 705,164 recoveries. Active infections stood at 183,527.