President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Wednesday night extended the second strictest lockdown level enforced in Manila, the capital and nearby cities and provinces by another two weeks, as his government tries to contain a fresh surge in coronavirus infections.

The modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite would be extended until May 14, he said in a televised address.

The President said he had to extend the modified lockdown to ease pressure on hospitals that were at near breaking point. “For those people who don’t really care about getting infected or not, I can understand. But the problem is everyone will get hit.”

The altered lockdown would also be enforced in the provinces of Quirino and Abra and Santiago City in Isabela in northern Philippines until the end of May.

The provinces of Apayao, Baguio, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya in Cagayan Valley would be placed under a general community quarantine in May.

Batangas, Quezon, Tacloban City, Iligan City and Lanao Del Sur will also be under a general lockdown

Coronavirus infections in Metro Manila were decreasing but the average attack rate remains above the threshold, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said at the briefing.

Healthcare use in the National Capital Region had improved, but most cities were still above the 70% threshold. The use rate in CAR and Region 2 were at high risk. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza