Metro Manila lockdown to be longer than that of COVID-19 epicenter Wuhan

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 12 2020 04:52 PM

Metro Manila lockdown to be longer than that of COVID-19 epicenter Wuhan 1
Health workers test village barangay officials for the novel coronavirus in Barangay Addition Hills, Mandaluyong, May 7, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File 

MANILA - The home quarantine of 12 million people in Metro Manila was extended for the third time on Tuesday, which would stretch it longer than the lockdown of Wuhan in central China, the global epicenter of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Implemented on March 15, the Metro Manila lockdown was extended by President Rodrigo Duterte until May 31. It will span 77 days. 

Wuhan, a city of 11 million, closed down for 76 days, from Jan. 23 to April 8, to contain the virus that was first reported at a wet market there late last year. 

Over the weekend, a new cluster of infections reappeared in Wuhan, spawning fears that a second wave could undermine China's efforts to get its economy back up. But China had no new domestic cases on Tuesday and for the 27th consecutive day there were no deaths. 

Shutdowns designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus have left businesses struggling to survive and tens of millions jobless worldwide. 

In the Philippines, the pandemic displaced some 2.5 million workers temporarily or permanently, said the labor department. 

Last week, the Philippines reported a 0.2-percent shrinkage in first quarter gross domestic product, the first contraction since 1998. The 2 succeeding quarters are expected to show contractions as the full effect of the lockdown is reflected.

The government will "restart and accelerate" its P8 trillion infrastructure program, hire contact-tracers "en masse" and push food production as part of efforts to reboot the economy, said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez. 

- With reports from Agence France-Presse