Philippine Trade Chief Says Granular Curbs Eyed for Metro Manila

Photo by Alexes Gerard

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine authorities plan to impose targeted restrictions instead of wider curbs in the capital region to balance containing the pandemic and supporting the economy, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Saturday. 

“Lockdowns will be limited to a few specific areas with high transmissions,” he said in a mobile-phone message, confirming reports that a “granular lockdown system” will be piloted in Metro Manila starting Sept. 8. While guidelines are still being finalized, the idea is to allow jobs to return outside “small hot spot areas,” he said.

Photographer: Jilson Tiu

The capital region, which accounts for about a third of the economy, is under the second-toughest movement restrictions until Sept. 7. Many non-essential industries such as beauty salons, cinemas and gyms remain closed.

Virus restrictions have throttled consumption and destroyed jobs. Last month, the government cut its economic growth outlook for this year to 4%-5% from 6%-7%, placing the nation among the region’s laggards.

Total coronavirus infections in the Philippines breached 2 million this month. 20,741 new cases and 189 additional deaths were recorded on Saturday.

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