Philippines Sets Smaller Lockdowns, Perks for Vaccinated
(Bloomberg) -- The Philippines will impose smaller and targeted lockdowns and provide perks for the vaccinated amid a fragile economic recovery and elevated Covid-19 infections.
Metro Manila, which accounts for a third of economic output, will pilot test the Southeast Asian nation’s new virus response strategy from Sept. 16. Cities in the capital region will all be under the second-most stringent alert under a five-level system during the first week, the Department of Health said on Tuesday, citing increasing case count and the high hospital utilization rate.
Infections in the Philippines have hit more than 2.2 million, following a record 26,303 cases on Saturday, based on Health Department data. About 15% of the population are fully vaccinated.
“During this time we must ramp-up active case finding, conduct risk-based testing using RT-PCR, and fast track vaccination among high-risk groups,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a statement. The government has decided to lock down smaller areas, or from village to household level, as 80% of infections come only from a small proportion of villages in the capital region, she said.
Prior to the new strategy, wide lockdowns due to the delta variant have dimmed hopes for an economic recovery, with the government lowering growth outlook for this year to 4% to 5%.
- Under alert level 4, indoor restaurants and beauty salons in Metro Manila can operate at 10% capacity and accommodate only fully-vaccinated individuals; outdoor dining is allowed at 30% capacity even for the unvaccinated
- The curfew in the capital region will be shortened to six hours or from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. starting Sept. 16. from eight hours previously
- A granular lockdown of at least 14 days will be imposed on houses, buildings, streets or villages where Covid-19 cases are prevalent
- All businesses can operate at full capacity under alert level 1, while areas under alert level 5 will be under a strict lockdown
- Gyms, casinos, indoor tourist spots can operate at 30% capacity under alert level 3, and at half capacity under alert level 2; in-person religious gatherings will be allowed in varying capacities under alert levels 1 to 4
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