Traffic jams back in Philippine capital as officials ease pandemic restrictions
Covid-19 cases are dropping in the Southeast Asian country, where one of the world’s longest lockdowns brought record unemployment and hunger
By Associated Press
MANILA, Philippines — Traffic jams and outdoor crowds were back in the Philippine capital and 38 other cities and provinces Tuesday after officials allowed businesses and public transport, including shopping malls, movie theaters and restaurants, to operate at full capacity as Covid-19 cases continued to drop with more vaccinations, officials said.
In a bid to strengthen the pandemic-battered economy, authorities placed metropolitan Manila and 38 other regions under the lowest rung of a five-step pandemic alert system from Tuesday to March 15 and lifted most health restrictions, but still required the full vaccination of residents 18 and older against the coronavirus and the wearing of face masks outdoors and in indoor establishments.
Social distancing is no longer required in Manila and the other specified areas, restaurants can now remove plastic barriers on tables, and public gatherings — such as birthday parties, weddings, sport events and family reunions — can fully resume. All government employees have been ordered to return to office for work.