Cops to enforce social distancing measures in Manila, nearby cities

PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

THE PHILIPPINE government will deploy more cops to enforce physical distancing measures amid a fresh surge in coronavirus infections in Manila, the capital and nearby cities, according to the Presidential Palace.

Presidential spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. cited a need for increased police presence on the streets as Filipinos continue to ignore health protocols.

“If we have to use more policemen and soldiers for this, we will do it,” he told a televised news briefing in Filipino on Thursday.

Filipinos don’t seem to mind wearing face masks but have a hard time following social distancing measures, Mr. Roque said. “So law enforcers are really needed for this.”

Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya on Tuesday said about 180 more cops had been deployed in Pasay City to help local authorities enforce quarantine rules.

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More cops will be sent to the cities of Navotas and Malabon to ensure people follow health protocols especially in coronavirus hotspots, he said.

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III earlier said coronavirus cases in Metro Manila were alarming.

The cities of Pasay and Malabon were at a critical risk level, while Navotas, Makati and San Juan were high-risk areas, he said at a televised meeting with President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday night.

Coronavirus cases in Metro Manila have been rising faster, hitting levels last seen in July, the OCTA Research Group from the University of the Philippines said on Sunday.

There had been 1,025 infections daily in the capital region in the past seven days, 42% higher than a week earlier and more than double the number two weeks ago, it said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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