Philippines eases lockdown as economy takes a hit

18 Aug

The Philippine government will ease the coronavirus lockdown in and around the capital, Manila, from Wednesday in an apparent bid to revitalize the domestic economy. The move comes despite the continued spread of virus infections in the country.

President Rodrigo Duterte said in a televised speech on Monday that the pandemic has caused the economy to plunge worldwide and put many people out of work. But he said his government can no longer afford to compensate citizens and companies affected by the lockdown. The Philippines' GDP shrank 16.5 percent year-on-year in the April-June period. That's the worst since comparable data began to be recorded in 1981.

The country had been gradually easing lockdown measures since June. But outings and business activities were sharply restricted in Manila and four neighboring provinces on August 4, due to a spike in infections. Most businesses in those areas will now be able to resume normal operations from Wednesday.