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BREAKING: Philippines start easing economic restrictions

The Philippines announced Tuesday an easing of restrictions on economic activities in the capital Manila from Saturday despite extending a lockdown on the main island of Luzon to stem the coronavirus outbreak.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said some manufacturing sectors in the capital will be allowed to restart at up to 50% workforce capacity, with public transportation partially slated to start operating again

A soldier wearing a face mask guards an empty street following the lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus disease in Manila, Philippines. Image credit Reuters

The lockdown will also be scaled back to put other areas on the Philippines' largest and most populous island under a more relaxed "general community quarantine," where quarantine protocols are less stringent.

Luzon has been in strict lockdown since March 16, the day President Rodrigo Duterte declared an islandwide lockdown amid rising virus cases in the Southeast Asian nation.

The easing of the restrictions and the 15-day extension of the lockdown will be finalized by a national task force handling the containment measures and be officially announced promptly, Roque said.

Duterte, in a statement issued earlier, cautioned that the envisioned easing would not mean Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, has disappeared.

The president also stressed that the nation could not afford another wave of infection.

Roque said Tuesday that more movements of people will be allowed in the other areas of Luzon, where quarantine protocols will be relaxed.

Image credit Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Workers in these areas will be allowed to go out and work, though in phases.

All air and seaports in those areas will remain open but only to transport goods.

In those areas, travel restrictions will also remain, with a strict limit on the entry of foreign nationals.

But those already in the Philippines may be allowed to leave the country.

The Health Department reported 292 new virus cases on Monday, taking the nation's total to 11,086 cases and 726 deaths.

Source: Bangkok Post


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