The Philippines has ordered the closure of the country’s largest TV network with immediate effect, local media reported on Tuesday.

The country’s National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in a statement to the daily Phil Star ordered the ABS-CBN Corporation to “cease and desist” operations after a 25-year franchise to operate expired on May 4, 2020.

The decision could affect nearly 11,000 jobs in the ABS-CBN Corporation.

It came as the country faced the peak of its COVID-19 outbreak with cases nearing 10,000 and more than 600 deaths.

The daily said Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had in the past repeatedly threatened to block the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN.

According to the country’s Health Department, 199 new novel coronavirus cases were reported, bringing the national tally to 9,684.

Authorities have confirmed 637 deaths due to the pandemic after more than 14 deaths were reported on Tuesday.

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