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Philippine govt to ease Metro Manila quarantine from June 1

Duterte said the concession contracts of Manila Water and Maynilad Water Services Inc. are disadvantageous to the public because they prohibit the government from adjusting water rates. Photo: STAR. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MANILA, May 29, 2020, The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Malacañang on Friday defended the government’s decision to ease quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila even as the Department of Health (DOH) continues to report new COVID-19 cases from the metropolis, citing the people’s need for livelihood, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

President Rodrigo Duterte approved on Thursday night the shift of Metro Manila – the country’s economic center – and other areas into a more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) starting June 1.

With the declaration, almost all sectors will be allowed to operate on a limited capacity after months of a shutdown to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Alam niyo kasi binabalanse din natin ito dun sa karapatan ng ating mga mamamayan na magkaroon ng kabuhayan,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview over GMA’s Unang Hirit.

(You know, we are also balancing the need of our people to work.)

“Saka ang katotohanan, hindi naman pupwede mabigyan ng ayuda ng gobyerno ang halos lahat ng hindi nakakapag trabaho ng lalo pang mas mahabang panahon. So yun po ang binabalanse natin,” he added,

(The truth is, the government cannot provide assistance to all the affected workers for so long. That’s what we are balancing here.)

The government’s decision to ease lockdown rules came even as DOH reported a sudden surge in new COVID-19 infection.

As of May 28, DOH said the country logged 539 latest cases of COVID-19, the new highest single-day increase in coronavirus infection since the 538 recorded on March 31.

Prior to this, DOH has also recorded a total of 1,014 confirmed cases from Monday to Wednesday. However, the health department attributed the sudden surge in new cases in its increased capacity to validate more cases.

Overall, there are now 15,588 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide, including 3,598 recoveries and 921 deaths.

The Palace official also reiterated that the Philippines’ case doubling time and critical care capacity has increased considerably during the months of strict community quarantine.

For Duterte, the country’s current COVID-19 figures aren’t so bad as he pointed to the Philippines’ low fatality rate.

“Ang patay po is 921. (Our death toll is at 921) So you would see that the Philippines has ratio and proportion vis-à-vis with the population, we have a low rate of mortality here in this country,” he said.

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