Lockdown déjà vu in the Philippines

With Covid cases rising, the Duterte administration keeps

doing the same thing but somehow expects a different result

It’s hard to tell whether the Philippine government intentionally sought to mark exactly one year since March 15, 2020 Metro Manila Covid lockdown by tightening quarantine restrictions once again, first on March 15 and then further on March 22.

New Covid cases have been piling up at an alarming rate recently, with the capital as the epicenter, home to roughly a tenth of the national population. City mayors, with the backing of the administration, resolved to impose stricter checkpoints, a 10 p.m. curfew, and a limit to general public mobility and economic operations.

What little difference a year makes as an end to one of the longest lockdown periods in the world becomes that much more unimaginable.

The latest move has been prompted by the abrupt increase in daily average cases (more than 4,600), the second-highest in Southeast Asia. The numbers are comparable to the height of transmission last year and show a 113 percent hike from the end of February to the present.