Philippine health authorities announced the country's largest daily increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) fatalities on Monday, July 13, with 162 new deaths reported and 2124 new infections announced. According to media sources, the number of cases has more than tripled since June 1, after the government began easing lockdown restrictions in efforts to revive the country's economy. Authorities also announced on Monday that, following the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, lockdown restrictions are expected to be reimposed in Metro Manila in the coming days.
Across the country public transport, restaurants, and shopping malls have been permitted to reopen at limited capacities. Individuals are required to wear face masks and observe social distancing while using public transport nationwide. Partial restrictions remain in place in some areas; President Rodrigo Duerte announced on July 1 that the general community quarantine (GCQ) has been extended by one month in Metro Manilla due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, joining a number of areas in Luzon and Visayas which remain under the GCQ. Strict lockdown measures under the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) have been reinstated in Cebu City since June 16, following a spike in cases.
Further, on Monday officials reportedly announced that stricter lockdown measures will be reintroduced in Metro Manila in the coming days. Media sources suggest that individuals in Navatos will be required to stay home for a fortnight; with the official order expected to take effect on Wednesday, July 15, or Thursday, July 16, and full guidelines expected to be finalized prior to this. Reports indicate that residents in the area will be allowed to go to work, although outdoor exercise will be prohibited. Shops and businesses will also remain operating but restaurants will only be permitted to provide take-away services. Additional restrictions and measures are likely to be announced. Security forces are expected to be deployed to enforce the orders and arrest those who violate the measures.
Non-essential travel abroad has resumed since July 7, following certain conditions imposed to ensure traveler's safety including undergoing COVID-19 testing and mandatory quarantine on return to the country. Travelers are also required to submit confirmation of tickets, visas, and health insurance prior to travel, as well as signing a declaration form.
As of July 13, there are 57,006 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines and 1599 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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