Philippines lifts travel ban even as coronavirus cases jump

MANILA (BLOOMBERG) – The Philippines is lifting the ban on non-essential travel and allowing hair treatment in salons even as infections rose by a quarter in the past week.

The task force on coronavirus has allowed Filipinos to resume non-essential travel to countries that will allow their entry, as long as they have round-trip tickets, visas and health insurance, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a televised briefing Tuesday (July 7).

Departing passengers will also be required to sign declaration forms acknowledging they are aware of the risks of travelling, and to undergo quarantine upon their return.

Beauty salons in areas under the lowest quarantine level can also start offering hair colouring, treatments and services other than haircuts, which resumed last month, Mr Roque said.

The Philippines has 46,333 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Monday, including 1,303 deaths.

It has the second-highest number of infections in South-east Asia after Indonesia, and has the fastest rise in cases since June 1 when the capital region reopened.

The Philippines is set to reopen a terminal in its Manila airport on Wednesday, allowing eight airlines including Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd and Emirates Airline to operate.

From July 7 to July 11, however, the government shut down its busiest elevated railway traversing north to south of Metro Manila after nearly 200 personnel tested positive for the virus.

Even so, key government officials are calling for further easing of virus curbs to reignite an economy facing its deepest slump in three decades.

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