Philippine doctors urge time-out as coronavirus cases surge

'Endure some more': Philippines extends coronavirus lockdown

‘Normality will return in December’: Duterte extends coronavirus curbs in Philippines

The Duterte government has also promised to implement strict localized lockdowns in certain parts of Manila, including more stringent policing of minimum health standards.

In the largest call yet from medical experts to contain the virus, 80 groups representing 80,000 doctors and a million nurses, said the Philippines was losing the fight against COVID-19 and warned of a collapse of the healthcare system from soaring infections without tighter controls.

There have also been warnings that, rather than easing in the near future, quarantine restrictions may instead be tightened as the country struggles to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Philippines this month recorded Southeast Asia's biggest daily jump in coronavirus deaths and biggest single-day increase in confirmed infections.

Still, the health department said it supports the healthcare workers' call for a "timeout" and would "proactively lead the implementation of effective localised lockdowns".

Duterte on Monday said he had made a plea to Chinese President Xi Jinping to make the Philippines among the first to receive vaccines.

Roque said the government was conducting a "delicate balancing act between public health and the economic health of the nation".

The capital region, provinces south of it, and cities in the central Philippines have been under quarantine restrictions since June, limiting movements of the elderly and children, and the operations of businesses from restaurants to gyms. But infections have since jumped fivefold to 93,354, with deaths more than doubling to 2,023.

The lockdowns imposed in mid-March are among the world's strictest and longest, and have taken a toll on the country's normally fast-growing economy, with gross domestic product expected to shrink 2% to 3.4% this year, the first contraction in more than two decades.

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