MANILA • The Philippine authorities plan to impose targeted restrictions instead of wider curbs in the capital region to find a balance between containing the pandemic and supporting the economy, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said on 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 on Wednesday.
While guidelines are still being finalised, the idea is to allow jobs to return outside "small hot spot areas", he added.
The capital region, which accounts for about a third of the economy, is under the second-toughest movement restrictions imposed thus far in the country, and the curbs will last until tomorrow.
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 from 6 to 7 per cent to 4 to 5 per cent, placing the nation among the region's laggards.
Total coronavirus infections in the Philippines breached two million this month, with 20,019 new cases and 173 additional deaths recorded yesterday.