Philippines to place southern city in lockdown

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (AP) — One southern Philippine province and its war-battered capital will be placed under a mild lockdown next month and the rest of the country will be under more relaxed restrictions to boost the battered economy of the country counting the most coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte announced the quarantine restrictions for October in televised remarks on Monday night. Lanao del Sur province and its capital, Marawi city, will fall under a lockdown starting tomorrow due to infection spikes in recent weeks.

Most of Marawi’s commercial and downtown areas were destroyed after hundreds of Islamic State group-aligned militants laid siege to the mosque-studded city in May 2017 and the military launched a massive offensive and airstrikes to quell the five-month uprising.

A man wearing a protective mask to curb the spread of the coronavirus passes by a poster in Makati city, Philippines, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. Photo: AP

Many residents remain displaced, now staying with relatives or in government-constructed housing units. Duterte and officials did not provide more specifics on Marawi, but a mild lockdown would restrict most residents at home except for medical emergencies and buying food and other essential trips.

Shopping malls and other vital businesses can operate partially but leisure and entertainment centres, along with fitness gyms and movie theatres should be closed.

Metropolitan Manila and five other cities will remain under general quarantine restrictions with more businesses and public transport allowed to operate.