Duterte may ease restrictions despite COVID-19 spike

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CITING the urgency of a broader economic activity, President Rodrigo Duterte is set to ease government-imposed restrictions by next month amid a sharp spike on the number representing the daily COVID-19 infections in the country.

“As you know, quarantine classifications are decided on a monthly basis. So, I think, we are looking at reopening the economy by April,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Roque however clarified that the move is not meant on compromising public health even as he claimed that Filipinos have somehow got themselves used to the public health and safety measures since the onset of the global pandemic last year.

The Palace mouthpiece took heavy emphasis on the predicament of the country and that a longer lockdown is not an option.

The government, he added, is nonetheless monitoring the country’s two-week attack rate and health care utilization rate in evaluating whether the country could shift into modified general community quarantine.

The country logged 4,578 new Covid-19 cases on Friday — the highest single-day increase since September 14 when 4,699 cases were recorded — raising the nationwide tally to 611,618 cases. Of the 611,618 total Covid-19 cases, 52,012 are active. The number was the highest since October last year, when 52,423 active cases were reported.

Coronavirus deaths also continued to rise with 87 new fatalities, bringing the death toll to 12,694.

Twelve of Metro Manila’s 16 cities have already been classified among the top 15 areas with a “significant” upward trend in the number of new Covid-19 cases, says the OCTA Research group. They are Quezon City, Manila, Pasay, Makati, Parañaque, Taguig, Caloocan, Pasig, Malabon, Valenzuela, Marikina, and Navotas. Metro Manila is averaging 1,546 fresh COVID-19 cases daily.

In the Calabarzon region, the group also took note on the rising infections in Antipolo City and Cainta in Rizal and Bacoor and Imus in Cavite.

Other localities yielding higher figures are Santa Maria in Bulacan, and Baguio City.

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