Asia Today: Duterte easing lockdown in Philippine capital

Asia Today: Duterte easing lockdown in Philippine capital


MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is relaxing a lockdown in the capital, the country’s epicenter of coronavirus infections, in a tightrope move as the economy weakens and the government spends money to help feed millions of poor families restricted to their homes.

Duterte said Thursday night that metropolitan Manila will move to a more relaxed quarantine on Monday after more than two months of police- and military-enforced lockdown that restrained public mobility and most economic activities. The economy contracted in the first quarter in its weakest run in two decades.

More work and business operations, along with public transport, will be allowed to resume under the new arrangement, but physical distancing, face masks and other safeguards will continue to be required. Classes will remain suspended.

Duterte made the televised announcement hours after the Department of Health reported a single-day spike of 539 infections, more than 60% of them in the congested capital. That brought the total number of infections to 15,588, including 921 deaths.

Duterte warned the danger is far from over. “Remember that the entire nation is still under quarantine,” Duterte said. “The state has every right to control your movement if you pass on a contagion to the population.”

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— South Korea reported 58 new cases of the coronavirus, all of them in the Seoul area, as officials scramble to stem transmissions linked to a massive e-commerce warehouse near the capital. The figures announced by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday brought national totals to 11,402 infections and 269 deaths. Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun called for officials to examine working conditions at...

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