Residents in the Philippine capital of Manila are rushing to get their Covid-19 vaccines ahead of the weekend, as the nation announced they would be going under another two-week lockdown starting Friday evening.
Manila is home to about 13 million residents. The nearby province Laguna, as well as the cities of Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro will also be placed under lockdown. The lockdown measures in general are predicted to cost the economy $4 billion.
Residents will not be able to leave their homes except for essential shopping. Covid-19 cases have been on the rise in the Philippines since July. A majority of the spreading is due to the highly infectious Delta variant that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently warned is just as contagious as chickenpox.
The Delta variant in general has already caused a slew of severe outbreaks across Southeast Asia, especially in countries with poor vaccination rates. So far, about 10% of the Philippines 108 million population is vaccinated.
Mixed messaging from authorities has now led to crowds rushing vaccination sites this week to get their inoculations before lockdown. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte claimed that during the lockdown if an unvaccinated person leaves their home they will be escorted back by the police, but then clarified the next day that this would likely not be enforced.
However, that initial threat of police interaction caused many to want to get their vaccines to avoid police interaction when they might just be going to the store for their family.
Back in June, Duterte threatened jail to individuals who refused to get vaccinated, so it makes sense that residents would want to rush to vaccine centers this week.
The Department of Health urged the public not to believe in “fake news. Vaccinations will continue even under the hard lockdown in Metro Manila.”
The Philippines reported 8,127 new infections and 196 new deaths this Thursday, bringing the nation’s total to more than 1.6 million infections and 28,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.