Philippines extends Covid-19 curbs in capital through Sept 7 amid daily record cases

An aerial view shows minimal traffic in Quezon City, during a two-week lockdown in Metro Manila on Aug 9, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

MANILA (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) - The Philippines extended Covid-19 restrictions in the capital region until Sept 7 as the government tries to balance the need to contain the pandemic with boosting the economy.

The Philippine health ministry reported a record 19,441 new coronavirus cases on Saturday (Aug 28).

In a bulletin, it said confirmed cases rose to more than 1.93 million, while deaths rose by 167 to 33,008.

Metro Manila will remain under the so-called "modified enhanced community quarantine", under which the second-toughest movement restrictions are in place, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in statement on Saturday.

While most businesses are allowed to operate, many non-essential industries such as beauty parlours and bars remain shut. The curbs were earlier set to end on Aug 31.

Earlier this month, the government cut its economic growth forecast for this year to 4 per cent to 5 per cent from 6 per cent to 7 per cent. Officials have said that the pace of the vaccination rollout will dictate the country's economic recovery. The government reported 17,447 new virus cases on Friday. Hospitals across the country are under strain, with 75 per cent of intensive-care beds occupied.

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