MANILA, Philippines – Nearly 50,000 people have violated quarantine regulations and night curfews in the Philippines and officials warn that police will make more arrests to toughen the fight against the coronavirus.
Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar told The Associated Press that 49,333 violators have been apprehended in the two weeks since the main northern island of Luzon and other regions were placed under a month-long lockdown.
Many of those violators were treated leniently and allowed to go home after being warned or fined. But Eleazar says penalties will be stricter due to widespread defiance.
Curfew violators would be locked up if local ordinances in provinces and cities allow such arrests. Authorities will look for detention centers big enough to allow “social distancing” among those who will be arrested.
Officials on Sunday reported 343 new cases of the COVID-19 disease, bringing the country’s total to 1,418, including 71 deaths. It’s the biggest-single day jump in infections as the Philippines acquired more test kits and opened more testing centers.