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Philippines orders lockdown through Easter amid COVID-19 surge

Philippines orders lockdown through Easter amid COVID-19 surge
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The Philippines will go under a lockdown through Easter after the country confirmed a record-breaking 9,829 cases on Saturday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made the announcement on Saturday, CNN reports, with the lockdown set to last one week from March 29-April 4, which is Easter Sunday.

The Philippines is a majority-Catholic country and this lockdown will likely prevent millions from observing the holiday as they normally would with church services.

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The lockdown also includes a curfew from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. and gatherings of more than 10 people outside have been barred. Non-household members are not permitted to gather indoors.

Indoor dining will be prohibited for the following week, though takeout and delivery will still be allowed.

Thousands of officers have been deployed by the Philippine National Police to enforce the new rules, CNN reports.

The outlet notes that vaccines have begun to be sent out to front-line medical workers, with the Filipino Department of Health urging nonmedical workers to not jump the line for vaccines.

"Do not worry. Our goal is still to ensure that everybody will be vaccinated," Carlito Galvez, chief implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid-19, said. "But while we do this, the government is prioritizing healthcare workers as they are the most exposed and the most at risk of getting Covid."

"More vaccines will arrive, we are sure of that. We just have to wait for our turns to be vaccinated," Galvez added.

According to the World Health Organization, nearly 300,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered in the Philippines.