An inter-agency coronavirus task force on COVID-19 has formally recommended to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to further ease the lockdown restrictions in Metro Manila starting June 1 to allow more businesses to reopen in hopes of restarting the economy crippled by the lockdown imposed in mid-March to slow the spread of the virus. She said earlier in the day that the increase is "artificial" due to new infections among returning migrant workers, which accounted for a tenth of the newly reported cases.
Manila's lockdown will this weekend surpass the 76-day quarantine of Wuhan, the Chinese city where the first outbreak of the highly infectious novel coronavirus was detected.
The Philippines' Manila region will soon start to emerge from one of the world's toughest and longest lockdowns - even as the country saw a record spike in daily infections Thursday.
There have been 14,319 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines as of Monday, including 873 deaths, according to the Department of Health.
Health authorities have missed the target of testing 30,000 people a day, with almost 290,000 conducted since January, equivalent to about 0.26 percent of the 107 million population.
Duterte wants Philippine schools closed until vaccine is ready
Monday, President Duterte's announcement stirred up the public since the DepEd already released a statement regarding the opening of classes on August 24.
"Unless I am sure that they are really safe, it's useless to be talking about opening of classes", he said.
Local officials can still place high-risk communities under lockdown.
The Senate on Wednesday approved on second reading an amendatory bill which seeks to give President Rodrigo Duterte the authority to reschedule opening of classes beyond August.
Schools, universities, tourist destinations, dine-in restaurants will stay closed, however, while stay-at-home orders will remain for the elderly and children.
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