Philippines: unvaccinated people arrested if they leave their homes

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called on Thursday to arrest unvaccinated people who do not respect the obligation to stay at home during the duration of the reinforced restrictions, intended to contain the surge of contaminations linked to the Omicron variant.

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The government has tightened restrictions in the capital Manila and several regions this week, after a tripling of cases in the past two days.

Unvaccinated residents must stay at home for the duration of the restrictions, in effect until mid-January, and can only go out to buy basic necessities or exercise.

“Faced with a national emergency (…) I order the (village chiefs) to look for the unvaccinated and to call them not to move. And if they refuse, if they leave their homes (…) then the authorities can arrest the recalcitrant, ”President Duterte said in a recorded message.

About 70% of residents of Metro Manila, the capital region where more than 13 million people live, are fully immunized but less than half of the national population is, according to government data.

Rorigo Duterte said he was “appalled” by the large number of Filipinos still unvaccinated. “If you do not get vaccinated, you put everyone in danger” given how the virus is “galloping”, he said.

The health ministry has classified the entire country of 109 million people at “high risk” after a spike in cases in recent days, Maria Rosario Vergeire, a public health official, told CNN Philippines.

Since the start of the pandemic, the archipelago has recorded more than 2.8 million contaminations due to COVID-19 and 51,000 deaths.


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