Philippines eases virus lockdown in capital despite WHO warning

Andrew M. Santos

The Philippines will ease coronavirus restrictions in the capital Manila to spur economic activity, officials said Tuesday, despite record infection numbers and a warning from the WHO against the move.

Restaurants, churches and beauty salons in the national capital region will open at lower capacities from Thursday to get tens of thousands more people back to work.

“We should strive for total health and this can only be realised by carefully balancing our COVID-19 response by considering both the health of our people and the economic health of the nation,” President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said.

Virus cases have surged to record levels — more than 140,000 cases in the past week — thanks to an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant.

The World Health Organization’s representative in the Philippines on Tuesday warned against relaxing curbs.

While six of 10 adults in the capital are fully inoculated, “this

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