Philippines extends lockdown in Metro Manila and 2 areas till end-May, easing for the rest
MANILA, NNA – The stringent lockdown in highly populous Metro Manila and two other urban centers with high incidence of coronavirus infection will be extended till end-May as restrictions in other parts of the Philippines are being eased.
The sweeping shutdown in Metro Manila, Laguna province and Cebu city will be extended by another 15 days until May 31. However, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said an extra number of industries will be allowed to reopen under the extended lockdown, but details are still being finalized.
In many parts of the country, curbs on business activities and movements will be eased from May 16, while quarantine measures in other areas will be totally lifted, said Roque in an online news conference,
The government's decision came as the country’s rate of coronavirus transmission in the outbreak has shown signs of slowing down according to officials.
It also wanted to reopen the country's economy gradually after it had contracted for the first time in over two decades following the impact of the global pandemic and the government's shutdown in mid-March to stem the spread of the contagion.
Meanwhile, areas classified as high-risk communities such as Metro Manila, the country's economic center, are placed under "Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine."
People’s movements are still severely restricted but they will be allowed to leave home only to buy food, other basic necessities and in cases of emergency.
Roque said the government will allow some industries to open based on their ability to practice social distancing, good hygiene and their contribution to the economy.
Trains, buses, taxis, ride-sharing services and motorized rickshaws are allowed to operate but passengers must be those going out to buy essential items or to work for those whose companies are allowed to reopen.
In the same online news conference, health secretary Rosemarie Vergeire said while the restrictions will be eased and removed in many parts of the country, the people are still required to follow “minimum health standards” such as social distancing and proper hygiene, to prevent a resurgence of infections.
The Philippines has the third highest number of coronavirus transmission in Southeast Asia. As of Tuesday, it has a total 11,350 positive cases with the majority recorded in Metro Manila. More than 720 people have died so far, and over 520 are from Metro Manila.