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In this photo provided by the Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he meets with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in Malacanang, Manila, Philippines, Monday, June 15, 2020. Philippine officials placed the central city of Cebu back under a strict lockdown and retained quarantine restrictions in the capital for another two weeks as coronavirus infections continue to spike alarmingly. Duterte approved the moves Monday night, saying the virus campaign was not over.

Park Sang-hak, a North Korean refugee who has floated anti-Pyongyang leaflets by balloon across the land border, arrives at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, June 30, 2020. South Korean police said Tuesday that they’ve summoned two activists, including Park, accused of raising tensions with North Korea by sending propaganda balloons or plastic bottles filled with rice across the border.

A resident makes a gesture as he lines up with other residents for COVID-19 test outside the Worker’s Stadium in Beijing on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Test sites have sprung up through the Chinese capital as test have become a daily normal after the latest outbreak of the coronavirus,

In this photo provided by the Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Malacanang presidential palace compound in Manila, Philippines on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The Philippine president has retained a strict lockdown in a central city he described as a new coronavirus hot spot, while the capital and the rest of the country were placed in lighter quarantines.

Health officials disinfect an area around a hospital after one of the hospital’s patients tested positive for the new coronavirus in Gwangju, South Korea, Wednesday, July 1, 2020. South Korea is considering including religious facilities on the same list with nightclubs, hostess bars and karaoke rooms as “high risk” venues for the spread of COVID-19 following a slew of transmissions tied to church gatherings.

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun arrives to preside over a meeting to discuss measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus at the government complex in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, July 1, 2020. South Korea is considering including religious facilities on the same list with nightclubs, hostess bars and karaoke rooms as “high risk” venues for the spread of COVID-19 following a slew of transmissions tied to church gatherings.

A visitor has her body temperature checked at the entrance of Tokyo Disneyland in Urayasu, near Tokyo, Wednesday, July 1, 2020. Tokyo Disneyland reopened for the first time in four months after suspending operations due to coronavirus concerns.

A visitor gestures to have the body temperature of a Mickey Mouse doll checked at the entrance of Tokyo Disneyland in Urayasu, near Tokyo, Wednesday, July 1, 2020. Tokyo Disneyland reopened for the first time in four months after suspending operations due to coronavirus concerns.

Police officers wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the new coronavirus stand guard near the Japanese embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, July 1, 2020.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine president has retained a strict lockdown in a central city he described as a new coronavirus hot spot, while the capital and the rest of the country were placed in lighter quarantines.

President Rodrigo Duterte made the announcement Tuesday night on TV, further stretching three-month lockdowns and quarantines that officials call successful but his critics describe as ridden with failures and confusion.

The Philippines has among the most COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia with more than 37,500 people infected, including 1,266 who have died.

Duterte blamed Cebu city, which will remain under a lockdown up to July 15, for many violations of the rules that led to infection spikes.

“Cebu is now the hot spot for COVID. Why? Many of you did not follow. So don’t get mad at me,” he said.

The Philippines shut down most businesses in March but has reopened the economy recently as unemployment soared and massive government funds dwindled for cash and food aid for the poor.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— India reported 18,653 new coronavirus cases and 507 deaths in the past 24 hours with June proving to be the worst month since the pandemic hit the country in late January. India’s total cases reached 585,493 on Wednesday, more than 400,000 of them reported in June alone. India’s health ministry said 17,400 people have died. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed concern over negligence in maintaining social distance and wearing masks.

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