Philippines moves to ‘granular lockdowns’ in bid to revive the country’s economy

Philippines moves to ‘granular lockdowns’ in bid to revive the country’s economy

The Philippine government has announced that the stay-at-home order in its capital will be lifted this week in an attempt to revive the country’s economy, according to a statement from presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

The lockdown restriction has been in place in the Philippine capital since August 6, putting more than 13 million under Covid restrictions, as the country’s economic hub experienced a surge in Covid cases due to the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Speaking on Monday, Roque stated that the Philippines would move to a new system of “granular lockdowns,” to be trialed in Metro Manilla, where households, buildings, or streets could find themselves facing “localized lockdowns” to control the spread of the virus, while allowing the country’s economy to reopen.

“It will be literally a complete lockdown if you are subject to granular lockdown – even the food will be delivered to you,” Roque explained in his statement, although no further details were immediately provided about how the country will enforce the restrictions.

The Metro Manila region in the country’s capital accounts for around a third of the economy in the Philippines, meaning that the lockdown has crippled business and tourism. The reduced restrictions will allow restaurants, businesses, and social gatherings – such as church services – to resume, albeit with some Covid safety measures still in place.

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Back in July, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte stated that the country “cannot afford any more lockdowns lest our economy bleeds to the point of irreversible damage,” calling on citizens to get vaccinated to ensure the country can return to normal.

Since the pandemic began, the Philippines has recorded 2.02 million Covid cases, with 33,680 fatalities, according to data provided to the World Health Organization. With the country having administered 31.9 million doses of a Covid vaccine, only around 19% of the targeted population is fully vaccinated against the pandemic.

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