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World Philippine Capital Returns to Lockdown as Vaccinations Lag

07:45  29 march  2021
07:45  29 march  2021 Source:   bloomberg.com

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The Philippines ’ key economic area plunged back into another lockdown for a week starting Monday as the Southeast Asian nation faces its worst coronavirus surge and a slow vaccine rollout. The week-long lockdown will likely cut less than 1% from total economic output and can be offset by the impact of the corporate income tax cut signed into law on Friday, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. economist Michael Ricafort wrote in a note on Sunday. Infections are rising globally even as countries ramp up vaccinations amid efforts to reopen economies and revive social activities.

The Philippine president has agreed to place the capital and outlying provinces back under a lockdown after medical groups warned that the country was waging “a losing battle” against the coronavirus amid an alarming surge in infections. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Monday that metropolitan Manila, the capital region of more than 12 million people, and five densely populated provinces will revert to stricter quarantine restrictions for two weeks starting Tuesday. President Rodrigo Duterte relaxed the country’s lockdown on June 1 in an effort to restart the stalled economy.

(Bloomberg) -- The Philippines’ key economic area plunged back into another lockdown for a week starting Monday as the Southeast Asian nation faces its worst coronavirus surge and a slow vaccine rollout.

Metro Manila and the adjacent provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal were placed under enhanced community quarantine or ECQ, the nation’s strictest classification of movement curbs, from March 29 to April 4. A curfew from 6pm to 5am will be imposed during the lockdown.

“Our main objective why we’re closing down again is to make our healthcare system more manageable,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at a virtual briefing Monday. “Our emergency rooms and intensive care units are choking.”

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MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine president has agreed to place the capital and outlying provinces back under a lockdown after medical groups warned that the country was waging “a losing battle” against the coronavirus amid an alarming surge in infections. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Monday that metropolitan Manila, the capital region of more than 12 million people, and five densely populated provinces will revert to stricter quarantine restrictions for two weeks starting Tuesday. The move, which economic officials oppose, will again prohibit non-essential travel outside of homes.

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine president has agreed to place the capital and outlying provinces back under a lockdown after medical groups warned that the country was waging “a losing battle” against the coronavirus amid an alarming surge in infections. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Monday that metropolitan Manila, the capital region of more than 12 million people and five densely populated provinces will revert to stricter quarantine restrictions for two weeks starting Tuesday. The move, which economic officials oppose, will again prohibit non-essential travel outside of homes.

a person sitting in a car: Severe Lockdown Looms In Manila © Getty Images via Bloomberg Severe Lockdown Looms In Manila

A police officer inspects motorists at a quarantine checkpoint as a strict quarantine is reimposed in Manila, on March 29.

Photographer: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

The economic impact of the stay-home order is expected to be minimal as offices and financial markets will be shut on April 1 and for the Easter holiday, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said on Saturday, adding that “drastic threats warrant drastic response.”

The Philippine Stock Exchange kept the shortened trading hours implemented since the early days of the pandemic, while bonds, foreign currency and swap trading hours are unchanged from Dec. 1 when the Bankers Association of the Philippines restored the pre-pandemic schedule.

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will maintain the current level of coronavirus restrictions in the capital Manila until mass vaccinations start, his spokesman said on Monday, despite calls to ease curbs and revive the country's ailing economy. The Philippines , among the fastest growing economies in Asia before the pandemic, saw its gross domestic product slump by a record 9.5% in 2020, as one of the world's longest and strictest COVID-19 lockdowns shuttered thousands of businesses and left millions out of work. The restrictions in Manila, the epicentre of the Philippine epidemic, were set to

Millions of people in the Philippines won't be celebrating Easter as normal this year after the majority Catholic country imposed a strict lockdown in the capital and nearby provinces.

Philippine stocks swung between gains and losses early Monday, with the benchmark index rising 1.5% as of 11:00 a.m. Monday after falling as much as 1.7%. The impact on the currency was more muted, with the peso holding steady at 48.49 against the dollar.

Recession

The government earlier tightened mobility in the capital and the surrounding provinces for two weeks from March 22 but cases continued to spike, hitting a record 9,808 on Friday. Daily infections have risen more than five times from the start of the year, while the percentage of people testing Covid-19 positive rose to nearly 20% on Sunday from about 7% in January.

The Philippines, which implemented one of the world’s strictest and longest lockdowns last year, suffered its worst-ever recession in 2020, prompting economic managers to push for a sustained reopening and targeted restrictions rather than a hard lockdown. Gross domestic product shrank 9.5% last year and the contraction is expected to persist this quarter.

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More than 27 million people in the Philippines on Tuesday went back under stricter lockdown measures as the Health Department reported a record number of new coronavirus cases. The department reported 6,352 additional coronavirus infections, pushing the country’s total caseload to 112,593. Coronavirus cases in the Philippines have been increasing since the government began to ease restrictions in June in a bid to revive the economy. The spike has prompted doctors, nurses and other health care workers to call on the government to recalibrate the response to the pandemic.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to ease a mild coronavirus lockdown in the capital and four outlying provinces to further reopen the country’s battered economy despite having the most reported infections in Southeast Asia. Infections have been trending down after a second lockdown was imposed in the state capital , Melbourne, in early August. An epidemiologist said 99% of the second wave of infections can be traced to returned travelers quarantined in two Melbourne hotels. Charles Alpren was testifying at a state government-appointed

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The week-long lockdown will likely cut less than 1% from total economic output and can be offset by the impact of the corporate income tax cut signed into law on Friday, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. economist Michael Ricafort wrote in a note on Sunday.

Infections are rising globally even as countries ramp up vaccinations amid efforts to reopen economies and revive social activities.

In the Philippines, less than a third of the 1.7 million health workers had been inoculated as of March 23, while the country has received more than 1.1 million vaccine doses. About 2 million more from AstraZeneca Plc and Sinovac Biotech Ltd. are expected to arrive in the coming weeks.

The Philippines is behind its Southeast Asian neighbors like Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia in inoculations, based on World Bank data. The Philippines has administered 0.2 vaccine doses per 100 people as of mid-March, compared to Singapore’s 13.5 doses.

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Stay Home

Similar to the strict lockdown imposed a year ago, residents in affected areas must work from home if they are able and may only leave for essentials, and are barred from holding mass gatherings. Hospitals and health emergency services, manufacturers of medical supplies, farm sector and delivery of food and medicine are allowed to operate as usual.

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Malls are shut, except for tenants such as pharmacies, hardware stores, supermarkets and businesses engaged in food delivery and takeout. Businesses trading in other essential goods and services, including media establishments, can operate at up to 50% capacity, while industries including capital markets, finance, telecommunications and airlines are among those that must operate with a skeleton workforce.

Public transport including trains will be allowed to run at limited capacity while priority construction projects can continue. The capital region, with a population of about 13 million, accounts for nearly half of the nation’s total virus cases.

Economic managers will determine the amount of assistance to people in ECQ areas whose work will be affected by the lockdown.

Link to lockdown guidelines

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