Manila, Oct 27 (efe-epa).- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced Tuesday that the quarantine in Manila, which has suffered one of the longest and strictest confinements in the world over COVID-19, would be extended another month.
The capital, which accounts for about half of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, will endure a quarantine of at least eight and a half months until Nov. 30, although restrictions on movement through the city have been progressively relaxed since September.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Philippines has confirmed 371,630 cases – 10 percent still active – and 7,039 deaths.
The president decided to extend the quarantine until the end of November despite the opinion of the mayors of the 17 cities that make up the metropolitan area of ??Manila, who had requested to extend it until the end of the year.
Since Oct. 1, public transport in the capital has already operated at 50 percent of its capacity, the opening of more establishments has been authorized, and a curfew has been reduced to begin at midnight, but cultural centers, entertainment venues and public parks remain closed.
Those under 18 or over 65 are also not allowed to go out into the street, as they are considered at-risk groups.
The strict closure of the greater capital – which represents almost 70 percent of national GDP – has dealt a severe blow to the county’s economy, which has entered recession for the first time in three decades and is expected to decline by the end of the year 5.5 percent.
Duterte also maintained the intermediate phase of quarantine in the southern province of Batangas in the central cities of the country of Bacolod, Tacloban and Iloilo and in the province of Lanao del Sur, in Muslim Mindanao; while the rest of the country is already in the phase prior to the new normal.
Since Oct. 1, domestic tourism has reopened, a small move after half a year of restrictions, but they can only travel to a few authorized destinations, such as the popular island of Boracay or some northern provinces of the country, in most cases needing to present a negative PCR. EFE-EPA