Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Philippines, India relax coronavirus curbs as cases rise

India and the Philippines today have both relaxed their lockdown measures against COVID-19 amid significant increases in the countries’ respective caseloads. India logged a single-day record of 8,392 new cases over the past 24 hours, bringing its total to over 190,000 infections with 5,408 deaths. The Philippines, meanwhile, breached the 18,000 mark in the number of confirmed cases with 590 new infections within the same time period. Over 950 people have died from COVID-19 in the Philippines. 

In the Philippines, the capital region of Metro Manila – alongside regions II, III and IV-A as well as the provinces of Davao, Albay and Pangasinan – has been placed under general community quarantine (GCQ). This classification loosens the stay-at-home order and allows certain businesses to resume operations, although public transportation remains limited. Curfews and health protocols remain in place, with people still advised to stay home unless it is necessary to head out for work and other essential activities. 

All other areas not mentioned have been reclassified under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). In this classification, rules are much more relaxed, though health protocols and distancing measures are still to be observed.

The Philippines has implemented one of the world’s strictest and longest lockdowns to fend off the pandemic, having been in lockdown for nearly 80 days since mid-March.

India also eased some curbs against the virus effective today. The federal government has allowed states and union territories to ease restrictions on the movement of people and goods as necessary. The curfew has also been shortened to 9 pm to 5 am throughout the country. However, areas deemed as “containment zones,” where COVID-19 outbreaks are considered severe, will remain on lockdown until 30 June.

Places of worship, restaurants, malls and other establishments in the hospitality sector could reopen starting 8 June, when the first phase of India’s plan to officially exit from the restrictions takes effect. Schools and colleges will not yet open until consultations have been made with states and union territories in the second phase.

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