A man wearing a face mask and a face shield passes by a mural dedicated to frontline workers in Manila. File/Reuters
The Philippines extended on Friday partial COVID-19 restrictions in the capital Manila until the end of February in a bid to slow a spike in infections after year-end holidays, officials said, warning the curbs could further delay economic recovery.
From one of Asia’s fastest growing nations before the pandemic, the Philippines suffered its worst economic decline in 2020 as a strict coronavirus lockdown shuttered businesses and put millions out of work.
The Manila region, which accounts for 40% of the country’s economic output and is home to at least 12 million people, remains the epicentre for the outbreak in the Philippines, which has the second-highest case load in Southeast Asia.
Some curbs have been gradually eased, but a new rise in the number of coronavirus infections and local transmission of a more contagious COVID-19 variant have prevented the Philippines from reopening its economy faster.
The presidential spokesman confirmed in a statement restrictions that include limited operations at shopping malls and dine-in eateries, as well as curbs on gatherings and public transport capacity, would be prolonged.
Acting economic planning chief Karl Kendrick Chua separately warned the country must learn to live with the virus to avoid derailing an economic recovery.
“There’s no country that I know with a level of quarantine that is so broad, so deep and so long,” Chua told foreign correspondents on Friday.
The Philippine economy contracted 9.5% in 2020, the biggest slump on record.
Manila on Friday also relaxed travel curbs on foreigners coming from more than 30 countries, including the United States and China that have detected cases of the more contagious British variant of the coronavirus starting from next month.
The move covers foreigners previously allowed to enter the Philippines, including those holding work visas and spouses of Filipinos, but tourists would remain banned.
Dadey said due acknowledgement must be given to the Philippine government which had, considered among others, the $200.00 (Dhs730.00) each allocation to displaced OFs.
Some activities will remain banned, including weddings and corporate meetings. Social gatherings will continue to be limited to a maximum of 20 people, SPA said, citing an interior ministry source.
A Filipino returning from Brazil tested positive for the P.1 variant after 752 samples were sequenced at the genome centre, the ministry said in a statement.
A woman filed a lawsuit against a women’s salon in which she requested the court to obligate the salon to pay her Dhs100,000 in compensation for the burns she sustained by mistake when her nails were trimmed and decorated with acrylic. She said this substance was left on her fingers for a long period and consequently caused finger burns of second and third degrees.
The Water Department of the Sharjah Electricity, Water and Gas Authority completed the installation of a strategic water line extending for 56km from Hamda area to Al Badea area with a diameter of 800mm at a total cost of Dhs96 million, excluding the value of materials. The project aims at enhancing the diversity of water sources in the city of Sharjah and guaranteeing the continuity of service.
His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, approved the start of the first phase of land levelling for the residential areas in Al Shannouf 1-6, totalling 3,000 plots of land at 50 plots in each area.
Khalid said, “Members of the Australian Defence Force entertaining #Afghan Refugee kids in a camp at UAE. These children & their families have been evacuated from #Afghanistan by the Australian Government. @ausgov @AustralianArmy @DeptDefence…”