By Emmanuel Nduka
President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday ordered the arrest of unvaccinated people found outdoor.
The Government is clamping down on those who violate stay-at-home orders aimed at curbing “galloping” coronavirus infections driven by the Omicron variant.
Authorities have tightened restrictions in Manila and several provinces and cities this week.
Unvaccinated people among the capital’s 13 million people, were ordered to stay home after infection numbers tripled in the last two days.
According to health officials, infections were projected to increase further in the coming days and would peak by the end of the month.
“Because it’s a national emergency, it is my position that we can restrain people who have not got their shots.
“I am now giving orders to the (village chiefs) to look for those persons who are not vaccinated and just request them or order them, if you may, to stay put.
“And if he refuses and goes out of the house and goes around in the community or maybe everywhere, he can be restrained. If he refuses then the (official) is empowered to arrest the recalcitrant persons,” Duterte said in a pre-recorded message.
In the Philippines, coronavirus vaccinations are voluntary in the nation of more than 100 million people, and less than half the population have so far completed their jabs.
Duterte said he was “appalled” at the large numbers of Filipinos yet to be vaccinated.
New infections surged to more than 17,000 on Thursday, rising more than threefold from Tuesday’s toll, according to health department data.
The disease has infected 2.9 million people in the country, nearly 52,000 of whom have died.
Lockdown was loosened in October last year, after coronavirus infections driven by the Delta variant peaked, in order to revive the battered economy.
New infections dwindled to a few hundred daily just before Christmas, but ramped up again as families and friends got together for the holidays.