The Philippines’ capital region is to exit wide-scale COVID-19 restrictions from tomorrow, as the government launches a pilot test of localized lockdowns, amid efforts to balance reopening the economy and containing the spread of the virus.
Localized lockdowns would be accompanied by five alert levels designating the range of businesses allowed to operate, including activities targeted at fully vaccinated individuals, officials said.
If successful, the same formula could be applied across the Philippines, which is battling one of Asia’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks.
The shift in the government’s COVID-19 strategy could soon pave the way for limited face-to-face school classes and the reopening of indoor entertainment facilities in areas with low virus transmission and adequate hospital capacity.
From tomorrow, the alert level would be changed in Metro Manila, allowing outdoor dining at 30 percent capacity, and indoor dining for small groups of fully immunized people, Philippine Undersecretary of Health Maria Rosario Vergeire told a news conference.
Religious gatherings and personal care services would be allowed at 30 percent of building capacity.
The capital region, an urban sprawl of 16 cities that is home to 13 million people, is the country’s COVID-19 epicenter, accounting for one-third of cases and one-fourth of deaths.
Three-fifths of the area’s population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, government data showed.
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