The Philippines has declared a “national dengue epidemic” after at least 622 people lost their lives from the mosquito-borne disease this year. At least 146,000 cases were recorded from January to 20 July – a 98% increase on the same period last year – the health department said. The epidemic was declared so that officials can identify areas in need of emergency attention. The infection causes flu-like illness, but occasionally becomes more severe.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said his martial law declaration for the country’s restive south could be expanded throughout the country in order to combat the rise of ISIS. The current martial law order – which covers both the city of Marawi and the wider island of Mindanao, of which Marawi is a part – came after deadly clashes broke out between Filipino government troops and Islamist militants Tuesday. Fighting between government forces and the Maute group, an Islamist militant organization based in Mindanao, began Tuesday afternoon in Marawi, a city of about 200,000 people.
Just days after Duterte’s friendly call discussing the action needed to take against North Korea, the President Xi Jinping of China spoke with Duterte discussing what they could do to help the cause. The conversation was described by Chinese news outlets as also friendly. The involved countries hope to see some positive progress where North Korea is involved.