Online claims of certain places in Binondo being under lockdown due to coronavirus disease infection have been circulating on private messaging apps and social media posts over the weekend.
The message particularly cited commercial establishments in the district with “confirmed COVID-19” that were placed in a “lockdown” although it did not specify whether it meant an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or not.
ECQ is the strictest form of lockdown in which people are only allowed to go out of their houses for essential purposes and if they work in essential sectors.
The message claims that some places like Metrobank Downtown Center, Escolta Twin Towers, Cityplaces Residence and the Lucky Chinatown Mall are under such a “lockdown.”
Police Brigadier General Leo Francisco, the director of Manila Police District, denied the false posts and SMS through a message to reporters.
“Sa mga nabanggit na lugar, from our station commanders, negative po ang information, at may nagpapakalat lang sa Facebook,” he said.
The city government of Manila reportedly denied the claims as well and urged social media users to refrain from spreading the message.
The MPD said the false posts have previously circulated across messaging platforms and social media in July 2020.
Rise of new cases
The city on Monday announced that will tighten its security and health measures amid the rising cases of COVID-19 in the nation’s capital.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno ordered the MPD to intensify its presence as they strictly enforce minimum health protocols among the public.
He also said that barangay-level lockdowns are now authorized to be implemented if the COVID-19 cases increase in the communities.
Based on its COVID-19 monitoring data, Manila has 908 active cases as of Monday noon. The districts with the highest counts are Sampaloc with 151 active cases and Malate with 140 active cases.
The city has a total count of 29,288 COVID-19 cases.
OCTA Research Group, an independent body composed of experts from the University of the Philippines and the University of Santo Tomas, recently said that cities in the National Capital Region have been seeing an upward trend in new cases.
A “very sharp two-week” increase of more than 40% was seen in Quezon City, Makati, Taguig, Parañaque, Caloocan and Mandaluyong.
Four cities were also tagged as high-risk areas, particularly Pasay, Makati, Malabon and Navotas.
The group suspects that the surge “may be driven by new and more contagious and lethal variants” in the metro but added that it still needed to be confirmed through genome sequencing.
Two new variants of COVID-19 are detected in the country—the one that originated from the United Kingdom and one from South Africa.