A man smokes a cigarette in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, on July 30, 2020.
In the largest call yet from medical experts to contain the virus, 80 groups representing 80,000 doctors and a million nurses, said the Philippines was losing the fight against COVID-19 and warned of a collapse of the healthcare system from soaring infections without tighter controls.
The heads of about 40 medical societies called on President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday to return metro Manila to strict community quarantine for two weeks to ease a rise in infections and allow health workers to recover from exhaustion.
The Philippines' health department vowed on Sunday to update its game plan against Covid-19 within a week and sought to beef up the healthcare workforce in the capital Manila, where medical frontliners are calling for reviving strict lockdowns.
A coronavirus task force said it would impose lockdowns in areas with surging cases, while urging the government and private hospitals to increase bed capacity for COVID-19 patients.
"The progressive lifting of quarantine has inadvertently fuelled public misconception that the pandemic is getting better".
"It seems that the current responses are not working because the cases are rising", Bishop Broderick Pabillo said.
"The health sector can not hold the line for much longer", they said in a letter to President Rodrigo Duterte that was signed by the heads of some 40 medical societies.
Businesses in the capital and outlying regions comprise about 67% of the national economy and the administration has walked a tightrope between public health and economic revival, Roque said. We are one with our health experts in appealing to the government to heed their request for the implementation of an ECQ.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the strict lockdown in metro Manila had served its objective and other strategies need to be identified, including "stringent enforcement of minimum public health standards, massive targeted testing, intensified tracing and quarantine of close contacts".