Cases rise in Philippines, Germany, Turkey

·2-min read

People in parts of the Philippines and Germany face new coronavirus restrictions while health authorities say infections are also rising in the Netherlands and Turkey.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Saturday he thinks a lockdown lasting 10 to 14 days is necessary to get the country's ballooning coronavirus outbreak under control.

"If we take the figures, including the developments today, we actually need at least another 10 or 14 days in which we really shut down our contacts, our mobility," he said.

According to Spahn, Germany needs a lockdown over next week's Easter holidays similar to what occurred last year, when Germans were clearly told to stay at home and avoid all contacts.

Germany's coronavirus strategy was thrown into confusion earlier this week, when the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel made a spectacular U-turn on a plan to tighten an existing lockdown over Easter, citing legal and logistical problems in implementing it.

The country's disease control agency announced 20,472 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 157 additional deaths on Saturday.

Manila and nearby provinces will return to stricter quarantine measures from Monday, a senior official said on Saturday as the Philippines battles to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases that has strained hospitals.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the measures, which will be in place until April 4, will ban non-essential movement, mass gatherings and dining in restaurants.

They represent a further tightening of curbs imposed on March 22.

Roque said the government will intensify tracing and conduct house-to-house visits to search for people with COVID-19 symptoms.

There will also be a "heightened presence" of police and military personnel to enforce protocols, he added.

The health ministry on Saturday reported 9595 new coronavirus cases, marking the second straight day the daily jump in infections remained above 9000.

Roque told a media briefing that the threat warranted a "drastic response," adding the tighter measures will give health workers breathing space as hospitals in the capital near critical capacity.

Health authorities in the Netherlands on Saturday reported 8798 new coronavirus cases in the previous 24 hours, the highest level recorded since early January.

The National Institute for Health has forecast that new cases will continue to rise through late April, even with the country's current lockdown measures that include an evening curfew and bans on public and private gatherings.

Turkey has recorded 30,021 new cases of the virus in the space of 24 hours, the highest number this year, health ministry data showed on Saturday.

Measures to curb the pandemic in Turkey were eased this month.

The cumulative number of cases stood at 3,179,115 and the latest daily death toll was 151, bringing the cumulative toll of fatalities to 30,923.