Partial restrictions to remain in Manila for another two weeks

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MANILA/JAKARTA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday that partial restrictions would remain in place in Manila for another two weeks because the coronavirus threat was still present.

Mr Duterte reinstated strict lockdown rules in Cebu City, the country's fifth most populous city, following an increase in new infections there.

Restrictions were further eased in provinces and cities with low cases of the virus to help restore business activity in the South-east Asian economy, which is expected to shrink for the first time in more than two decades this year.

The lockdown in Manila, which was one of the world's longest and strictest, was relaxed on June 1 to reduce the economic damage of the pandemic.

The relaxed rules, which allowed the reopening of more industries, some public transportation and movement in and out of Manila, were set to expire on Monday.

But schools, universities and tourist destinations will stay closed, while stay-at-home orders will remain for the elderly and children.

"We are gradually easing restrictions to make way for our economic viability as individuals and as a nation, but it does not mean we will forget our minimum health standards," Mr Duterte said.

On Monday, restaurants in the capital were allowed to reopen dine-in services but on a limited scale, to allow more workers to go back to work.

The Philippines reported 364 new infections and five more deaths yesterday, taking the total number of cases to 26,781 and fatalities to 1,103.

In the rest of South-east Asia, Indonesia confirmed 1,106 new infections and 33 more deaths yesterday. It now has 40,400 cases and 2,231 deaths.

Malaysia reported 11 new cases, raising its total to 8,505 infections. Total fatalities in the country remain at 121, with no new deaths reported.

Thailand reported no new infections or deaths, marking 22 successive days without a domestic transmission.

The country has recorded a total 58 deaths among some 3,135 cases. - REUTERS