A typhoon last Thursday lashing the Philippines has forced thousands into cramped shelters, while other spaces have been converted into quarantine facilities for those suspected of having the coronavirus.
Tens of thousands of people have been forced into cramped shelters by the powerful storm pounding the Philippines with 190 kph winds, making social distancing nearly impossible as the nation battles the coronavirus pandemic.
Typhoon Vongfong smashed homes, schools and virus quarantine sites when it hit central Samar island on Thursday, but then weakened into a severe tropical storm on its path north to the capital Manila.
“We have to wear masks and apply distancing at all times,” local police official Carlito Abriz told AFP. “It’s difficult to enforce because they (the evacuees) are stressed. But we are doing our best.”
Authorities have said they will run shelters at half of capacity, provide masks to people who don’t have them and try to keep families grouped together.
However, many spaces normally used as storm shelters have been converted into quarantine sites for people suspected of being infected with coronavirus.
Fortunately, the central region where the storm struck first is not one of the hotspots of the Philippines’ outbreak, which has seen 12,091 reported infections and 806 dead.