Philippine President eyes martial law-like COVID-19 crackdown hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Photo: AFP)

Hanoi (VNA) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on April 17 warned about a martial law-like crackdown to stop people flouting a virus lockdown in the nation's capital.

In a televised speech, Duterte said the army and police will take over if discipline is not taken.

He spoke a day after authorities reported an upsurge of cars on Manila's roads which have been nearly deserted since a sweeping lockdown was imposed a month ago.

As reported cases of the SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 started to climb in March, the leader ordered a quarantine of the main northern island of Luzon, which includes the capital's 12 million people.

Only essential workers and people buying food or medicine are officially allowed outside their homes, yet many others have flouted the rules.

The Philippines has detected some 5,660 infection cases and recorded 362 deaths, but those figures are expected to climb as the nation ramps up testing./.