The Philippines has become the first country to close its financial markets in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Philippine Stock Exchange is closed until further notice, while currency and bond trading has been suspended. The Philippines’ benchmark index has been down 20% in March, the worst since 2008. Half the population remains locked down, with the whole of Luzon placed under community quarantine. All international flights to and from the island will stop from March 20. The Philippines has reported 140 COVID-19 cases and a dozen deaths.
The Philippines reported on Monday (Jul 13) its biggest daily jump in COVID-19 deaths and warned of a risk of further fatalities and infections after the easing of lockdown restrictions and as authorities scramble to verify thousands of suspected cases.
A health ministry official reported 162 new deaths, which is additionally the most important single-day jump recorded in Southeast Asia so far , while 2,124 new infections were announced.
The number of COVID-19 infections has quite tripled to 56,259 since Jun 1 when the govt started easing tight restrictions, including allowing conveyance , restaurants and malls to open at limited capacities to restart the economy.
The health ministry said it expected the amount of fatalities to rise beyond the entire 1,534, with nearly 12,000 suspected positive cases yet to be verified.
“As a part of ongoing data harmonisation, we cannot avoid seeing cases not yet included in our official death count,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told a press conference , which had been delayed for each day .
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President Rodrigo Duterte eased one among the toughest and longest lockdowns within the world within the capital Manila in June to breathe some life back to the economy, but partial curbs remain.
He also reinstated strict lockdown measures in Cebu from Jun 16, which is emerging as a replacement hot spot with a tenth of the country’s total infections.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, during a regular briefing, described the pandemic as an “intensifying challenge” and said Manila’s occupancy rate jumped to 70 per cent on Jul 11 from 48 per cent five days prior thanks to a spike in cases.
A resurgence in infections was to be expected with the loosening of restrictions, former health secretary Esperanza Cabral told Reuters, but “the degree of increase” will depend upon people’s compliance with COVID-19 preventive measures.
While the amount of coronavirus tests within the Philippines has reached 908,779, that’s but 1 per cent of the 107 million population.