July 31, 2020 / 2:08 AM / 16 days ago

Philippines extends coronavirus restrictions in Manila as cases surge

MANILA, July 31 (Reuters) - Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday retained coronavirus restrictions in the capital Manila until mid-August and announced free vaccines to combat a surge in infections that has overwhelmed health care workers and facilities.

The Philippines this month has recorded Southeast Asia’s biggest daily jump in coronavirus deaths and biggest single-day increase in confirmed infections.

The capital region and provinces south of it were placed under general community quarantine, limiting movement of elderly and children, and the capacity of business establishments.

“My plea is to endure some more. Many have been infected,” Duterte said in a televised address.

Duterte promised free vaccines, prioritising first the poor and then the middle class, police and military personnel. The Philippines will be given precedence by China in vaccine distribution, he said. (Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales Editing by Ed Davies)

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