Manila lockdown preparations mulled due to Delta variant

Manila’s city government has been urged to lockdown the capital as the number of cases of the delta variant rises in the country. 

Manila mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso reportedly called an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss mitigation strategies against the spread of the variant coordinating with hospitals and the city’s Health Department.

Researchers from OCTA Research Group have recommended going into an “early and hard” anticipatory lockdown for at least two weeks. 

However, the nation’s Department of Health on Tuesday said that “there is no definitive evidence of a surge in the National Capital Region”, but that it is “closely monitoring daily trends and is immediately flagging areas with increase in rates of transmission”.

Delta variant cases have been confirmed in both Quezon City and San Juan city, with worries of local transmissions. Relevant departments in the government have now been given a heads up in case smaller-scale lockdowns are required. 

Heightened GCQ extended

Metro Manila and its four adjacent provinces have been under general community quarantine (GCQ) with “heightened restrictions” since mid-June. President spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday said this would be extended to August 15. 

Under a heightened GCQ, only those between 18-65 years of age are allowed to leave their place of residence, and only certain businesses such as supermarkets, drugstores, hardware stores, banks, retail stores and personal care services are permitted to open, under restrictions. 

The last time the NCR was under the heightened GCQ in May, it was stipulated that casinos would not be permitted to open.

However, inquiries from a local source have revealed that some casinos in Metro Manila are currently open. This includes Solaire’s casino, which is open to members only, the casino at City of Dreams Manila, open by invitation only. Meanwhile, Okada Manila’s casino is currently closed. There was no response when calling Resorts World Manila. 

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization warned that the delta variant is set to become the dominant strain of the coronavirus in a matter of months. This is certainly becoming the case for Asia. 

*A full breakdown of casino openings and the state of lockdowns across Asia’s main gaming jurisdictions will be published by AGB on Monday next week.