Commuters and motorists will be required to present vaccination cards at checkpoints in Metro Manila and Bulacan province before they are allowed entry, the Philippine National Police said, as mobility curbs are tightened to cap a surging infections.
Those who can't present vaccine cards at the border control points will be asked to turn back, said PNP Chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos. The capital region, Bulacan and several provinces and cities have been upgraded to Alert Level 3 until Jan. 15 as daily infections, believed to be driven by the Omicron variant, approach record highs with the peak yet to be seen.
"The PNP is fully aware that movement must not be hampered, but non-essential travel can be controlled," Carlos said in a statement.
Daily coronavirus infections in the Philippines hit the highest since Sept. 26 at 17,220 cases on Thursday, the Department of Health said, including those caused by the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
The tally, which was more than triple recorded on Tuesday brought total cases to over 2.88 million, and deaths to more than 51,700, the second highest COVID-19 infections and casualties in Southeast Asia, next to Indonesia.
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On Thursday, President Rodrigo Duterte said people who have not taken COVID-19 shots will be arrested if they disobeyed stay-at-home orders.
At the end of last year, 49.8 million people had been fully vaccinated, or 45% of the country's 110 million people. Under Alert Level 3, unvaccinated people can only step out of their homes for essential trips.