Cut out karaoke to help Covid fight, urges Philippines governor | World news

Across the world, coronavirus lockdowns have transformed city streets into eerie ghost towns, empty of noise and disruption. But in the Philippine province of Cavite, an unbearable din has been echoing through some areas, as residents turn to karaoke to pass away the hours spent under curfew.

The racket caused by karaoke, a favourite pastime in the country, has prompted the governor of the province to urge residents to report noisy neighbours through a special hotline.

“One of the most important defences against Covid is having a strong immune [system],” Jonvic Remulla wrote in recent statement, adding that a good night’s sleep was essential to keeping the body healthy and capable of fighting disease.

“Even if you say that you are inside your home, the noise caused by [karaoke] can be considered unlawful for the curfew hours,” he said, referring to rules that limit travel between 8pm and 5am.

Disruption caused by karaoke – popular at family gatherings, birthday parties and at bars – isn’t new. In 2017, Cavite province ruled that karaoke systems could not be played past 10pm in residential areas, apart from on special holidays. Yet during the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced many to stay home, it appears to be a growing annoyance.

The Philippines, which was placed under a strict lockdown between mid-March and June, has recorded 269,407 coronavirus cases, the highest number in south-east Asia. Metro Manila and surrounding provinces continue to face partial restrictions until the end of September.

Remulla, who said karaoke complaints were among the most common received by the authorities, urged residents: “Learn to respect your neighbours who have to wake up at 4am.”