Philippines to ease economic restrictions on Manila

A soldier wearing a face mask guards an empty street following the lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus disease in Manila, Philippines, April 24, 2020. (Reuters file photo)

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 Covid-19 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.

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.

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

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.

WRITER: Kyodo News
Source: Bangkok Post