Philippines Finds First Omicron Cases, Adopts Loose Curbs
(Bloomberg) -- The Philippines is retaining its second-most lenient movement restrictions in the capital through the Christmas holidays amid easing coronavirus cases, even as the nation detected its first cases of the omicron variant.
The entire Southeast Asian nation will be placed under Alert Level 2 from December 16 to 31, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a televised briefing Wednesday. Indoor restaurants, gyms, cinemas can operate at half capacity, while outdoor businesses can open at 70% capacity.
Shortly after the announcement on curbs, the Department of Health said it detected the omicron variant from a returning Filipino from Japan, and a Nigerian national from his home country. They are isolating, and their close contacts are being tracked.
President Rodrigo Duterte is boosting efforts to support the economic recovery from the pandemic as the spread of the coronavirus eased in recent weeks. The government raised its growth outlook for the year to a range of 5% to 5.5% and sees expansion of as fast as 9% in 2022.
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