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Malabon City reported a surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, including the more transmissible United Kingdom (U.K.) variant which was detected in a three-year-old boy and two senior citizens, according to a report by Manila Bulletin.

Bong Padua, the city’s head of public information office, said Tuesday they saw a “rapid increase” in the number of its new virus cases after it reached 549 on Monday, March 8, from only around 25 to 30 cases in January.

“Ito po yung binabantayan namin ngayon dahil mabilis po ang pagtaas ng COVID. Napansin po namin, nagsimula yung pagtaas…noong first week ng February. Actually, yung January, ang active cases namin umabot nalang ng 25-30 (This is what we’re monitoring because we have a rapid increase in our COVID cases. We observed that the rise started in the first week of January. Actually, in January, our active cases were only at 25 to 30),” Padua said in a DZRH interview.

Four out of the city’s 21 barangays recorded the highest number of new cases, he added. They are Tonsuya, Longos, Baritan, and Tañong.

“Ayon po sa report ng DOH (Department of Health), mayroon po tayong tatlong cases ng UK variant dito po sa Malabon. Isa pong three-year-old boy at saka dalawa pong senior citizens na mag-asawa (According to a DOH report, we have three UK variant cases. One is a three-year-old boy, the other is a senior citizen couple),” he said.

Padua said the local government attributed the rise in new cases to the residents who have to go outside of the city everyday to work.

“Ang nakikita namin, parang nakuha sa labas. Kasi karamihan dito daily wage earners. Yung mga residente lalabas sila, uuwi (We believe the virus was caught by those who are going outside for work, because most of our residents are daily wage earners who have to go outside daily),” he said.

He added that residents who are failing to observe minimum health protocols, such as the wearing of face masks and maintaining physical distancing, are also the reason behind the surge.

“Ang nakikita po ng aming mga doctor dito…ang hawaan dito, parang family transmission. Mayroong isang pamilya na tatlo ang infected, mayroon yung pito, walo (What our doctors are seeing is family transmission. We have families here who have three, seven or eight COVID-19 infected members),” Padua said.

He added that the city’s local task force is currently discussing the implementation of a lockdown. He admitted that the local government could no longer afford another lockdown as its is now lacking in assistance in terms of food or cash to give.

‘“Kung may maitutulong tayo, hindi tulad ng dati na tayo ay nakapaghanda nang maayos (If we could still help them, it would be no longer what we were able to offer before when we managed to prepare),” he said.

Padua said Mayor Lenlen Oreta has ordered city authorities to strictly implement health protocols.

Curfew hours of 10 p.m. – 5 a.m. are also being enforced since last weekend to limit the number of people outside of their residence.

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