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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: Manila Easing Some Restrictions

Ace Morandante/ Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division via AP
In this photo provided by the Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, talks during his speech at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines, Thursday May 28, 2020.

Communities around the state and the country are slowly re-opening after an extended shutdown. That includes one part of the Asia Pacific that has been under one of the longest lockdowns in the world.

The capital city of the Philippines and its surrounding area are emerging from some of the toughest government restrictions on movement. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told the nation in a late-night address Thursday that starting on Monday, residents of metropolitan Manila will be able leave their homes without a special “quarantine pass.”  

Some public transportation will be available and more companies will be allowed to open, but many limits still remain.

No sitting down in restaurants, and there’s no air travel to or from domestic or international destinations. There will still be checkpoints — as there have been across metro Manila since March 16th.

Duterte says, “the entire nation is still under quarantine” and that the easing in Manila is merely a matter of degrees. It’s also an experiment of sorts — a trial that runs until June 15th, when conditions will be reevaluated.

Overall, the Philippines has had nearly 16,000 cases of COVID-19 reported — about a thousand more than Argentina and a thousand fewer than Japan. Critics say the true number may be much higher, because testing has not been widespread.

On the same day the slight easing of restrictions was announced, the Philippines announced 539 new cases of COVID19 — the highest daily total since the outbreak began.

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