More troops to be deployed in areas most hit by coronavirus
MANILA, Philippines – The government is set to deploy more troops to areas in Metro Manila and other localities that are most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview with defense reporters on Sunday, April 19, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana explained that the situation in the last days of April would be "crucial" in determining whether to extend the "enhanced community quarantine" (ECQ) beyond April 30.
"We should see a tapering off or downward trend to warrant partial lifting or continue with the lockdown if the trend continues to go up," he said.
Lorenzana then expressed concern that with "too many people out in groups in supermarkets, streets, and other places," these scenes "do not inspire confidence that we will achieve our objective by end of this month."
"That's why I have directed the [chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines] to deploy more troops in [Metro Manila] and other places with high COVID incidence to augment the police to strictly implement social distancing and ECQ," he said.
The lockdowns in Luzon and Metro Manila were supposed to end on April 12 and 14, respectively, but President Rodrigo Duterte extended these to April 30.
As of Saturday, April 18, there are 6,087 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Philippines, with 397 deaths and 516 recoveries. – Rappler.com