Philippines keeps capital's curbs as it grapples with Covid-19

MANILA (BLOOMBERG) – The Philippines will keep existing movement restrictions in the capital region through Oct 15, as it balances virus containment and spurring economic activity.

Metro Manila, which accounts for a third of the nation’s economic output, will stay under alert level four in a five-step restrictions system, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a mobile-phone message on Friday (Oct 1).

Under the classification, restaurants and beauty salons operate at limited capacity. The virus task force also expanded by another 10 per cent the indoor capacity of restaurants, beauty salons and churches in areas under alert level 4, while letting gyms reopen at 20 per cent capacity for fully-vaccinated individuals, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement late on Thursday.

It also approved the recommendation to vaccinate minors age 12 to 17 years old from Oct 15, Roque said.

The South-east Asian nation fell to last place in Bloomberg’s Covid Resiliency Ranking of the best and worst places to be in during the pandemic, as elevated infections, low vaccination coverage and inadequate testing continue to throttle its economy and people’s livelihoods.

Economic managers on Thursday pushed for the economy’s “safe reopening” after data showed the unemployment rate increased in August, when the capital was under a strict lockdown.

To save jobs, Metro Manila has since shifted away from wide-scale lockdowns and limited stay-at-home orders to buildings and villages where infections are fast spreading.

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