July 22, 2020, 09.10 PM

In Southeast Asia, the Philippines ranks second to Indonesia in terms of the number of infections and deaths, with cases jumping nearly four-fold to 68,898 and deaths nearly doubling to 1,835 since the government relaxed lockdown measures in June.

Lockdowns have been reimposed in some of the hardest-hit areas.

Of 30 countries most impacted by the pandemic, the Philippines ranked 24th in terms of testing rate, data from statistics aggregator Statista showed.

Duterte threatened to arrest anyone who spread the virus, refused to wear masks or keep a safe distance from others.

Read also: President Jokowi Forms New Committee to Curb Covid-19, Revive Economy

The tough-talking Rodrigo Duterte warned in April that violators of lockdown rules could be shot for causing trouble.

"We do not have any qualms in arresting people," Duterte said in a recorded address aired on Tuesday. It was a "serious crime" to spread the Covid-19 respiratory disease, he added.

"If you are brought to the police station and detained there, that would give you a lesson for all time," he said of anyone caught not wearing a mask.

Last week, officials said health workers and police would take patients with mild or no symptoms from their homes and place them in isolation centers, raising concerns about possible human rights violations.

(Writers: Neil Jerome Morales, Karen Lema | Editors: Ed Davies, Stephen Coates) 

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-philippines/philippines-to-ramp-up-coronavirus-testing-as-duterte-warns-of-arrests-idUSKCN24M0ET

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