Philippines Lets Children Go Out After a Year of Staying Home

The Philippines has allowed minors at least 5 years old to go outdoors, easing one of the world’s strictest pandemic restrictions on kids after keeping them at home for more than a year.

Children in areas under the two loosest quarantine levels can now go to parks, playgrounds, outdoor restaurants and tourist sites, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement Friday. Still, they are banned from going to malls, he said.

Economic managers have been calling for looser movement curbs on kids as family activities can help drive consumer demand and boost the economy that’s struggling to recover. The capital region and nearby provinces, the Philippines’ key economic engine, are under the second-lowest quarantine level.

The Philippines is battling one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Asia, with nearly 1.46 million cases and more than 25,000 deaths as of July 8. The daily case count has eased from a record-high in April.

Meanwhile, its coronavirus task force also decided to let local governments decide if they will accept fully-vaccinated individuals even without testing, Roque said. Only 4.5% of the population has received second vaccine doses.

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