Philippines cancels traditional festival over COVID-19 concerns hinh anh 1Catholic devotees attended a mass on the feast day of the Black Nazarene last year. (Photo: Reuters)
Hanoi (VNA) - Philippine authorities have cancelled the traditional "Black Nazarene" procession in Manila capital city, in response to the huge spike in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila.

One of the country's largest religious festivals slated for January 7, it is cancelled for the second straight year due to the ongoing pandemic.

On January 5, the Philippines expanded restriction measures around Manila, including Blacan, Cavite and Rizal with a combined population of more than 1 million.

The Philippine Department of Health on January 5 reported 10,775 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily spike since October 10, and more than 60 times the 168 cases recorded on December 21.

The tally brought total cases to over 2.86 million, and deaths to more than 51,660, the second highest COVID-19 infections and casualties in Southeast Asia, next to Indonesia.

In Singapore, from February 14, those aged 18 and above will have to take a booster shot within 270 days of completing their primary vaccination series in order to maintain a fully vaccinated status against COVID-19. 

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said the Omicron variant now accounts for 17 percent of COVID-19 cases in Singapore.

Around 87 percent of Singapore’s total population has received two shots under the national vaccination programme, and 42 percent of the population has received booster shots.

More than 20,000 children aged 9-11 have received the first jab./.