Passengers on board a bus wear face masks in Quezon City, Metro Manila. Reuters
A total of 73 villages in Philippines have been given awards of $2,000 each in cash after they were declared to have been free from the novel coronavirus pandemic for the last two months.
Mayor Isko Moreno presided over the awarding during the traditional flag-raising ceremony for officials and employees for the start of the work week at the Manila City Hall quadrangle on Monday.
"Our goal is to achieve zero COVID infection for two months in our villages. And I believe you can do it," Moreno said in handing the $2,000 to each of the village chairmen. "That's why we want to honour you for your achievement."
Manila health officials confirmed the 73 villages remained free from COVID infections for the past two months from September to October.
Moreno expressed optimism that the other village leaders would be encouraged to go COVID free and also receive the incentive amid an official report that as of Nov.6, Manila has recorded a total 21,108 infections.
Of the total, 480 were considered as active cases, with 20,009 recoveries and 619 deaths, according to the Manila health department.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health reported that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide jumped close to the 400,000-mark of 396,395 as of Sunday with the addition of 2,442 cases.
Rizal province in Southern Luzon posted the biggest number of new cases with 138, followed by Manila, 130; Benguet province in the Northern Luzon highlands, 130; Batangas in Southern Luzon, 113; and Bulacan in Central Luzon, 112, according to the DOH.
By region, the DOH said Metro Manila remained on top, followed by Calabarzon (the acronym for the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon in Southern Luzon) and Central Luzon.
It also reported that of the 500,000 Filipinos who were repatriated to the country, 9,700 were found positive of the virus. Among them, 262 have been admitted in hospitals, five died while the rest have recovered.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said on Monday that metropolitan Manila, the capital region of more than 12 million people, and five densely populated provinces will revert to stricter quarantine restrictions for two weeks starting from Tuesday.
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