Typhoon Goni approaches the Philippines
Officials have evacuated almost one million residents in the southern part of the Philippines' main island of Luzon as a category 5 storm - the world's strongest this year - makes landfall.
Typhoon Goni, with 215km/h sustained winds and gusts of up to 265km/h, will bring violent winds and strong rains on Sunday, state weather and disaster officials said.
It is among the strongest typhoons to hit the Philippines since Haiyan, which killed more than 6300 people in 2013.
"We are having a hard time with COVID-19, and then here comes another disaster," Senator Christopher Go, the top aide of President Rodrigo Duterte, told a virtual news conference.
Local executives should ensure that the virus does not spread in evacuation centres, he said.
Officials have started pre-emptive evacuations, with Albay province bringing 794,000 residents to safety, Ricardo Jalad, executive director of the national disaster agency, told a news conference.
In the capital Manila and nearby Bulacan province, roughly 1000 COVID-19 patients housed in large isolation tents could be transferred to hotels and hospitals, Jalad said.
The Philippines has the second-highest infections and deaths in Southeast Asia, next only to Indonesia, with 380,729 cases and 7221 deaths.
Typhoon Molave last week killed 22 people, mostly through drowning in provinces south of Manila, which is also in the projected path of Goni, the 18th tropical storm in the country.
The main island of Luzon accounts for more than two thirds of the economy, which fell into recession in the second quarter, and half of the population of more than 108 million.
Typhoon Goni, moving westward at 25km/h from the Pacific Ocean, will bring intense rains over the capital and 21 adjacent provinces early on Sunday, and threats of floods and landslides.
Another typhoon, Atsani, with 55km/h sustained winds and gusts of up to 70km/h, is gaining strength just outside the Philippines.
An average 20 typhoons, bringing heavy rains that trigger deadly landslides, hit the Philippines annually.
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