MANILA: The Philippines reported its highest daily number of new COVID-19 infections on Friday (Aug 20), as authorities eased a lockdown in the capital to allow more businesses to operate and reduce the financial pain of poor families.
More than 13 million people in the National Capital Region went into lockdown on Aug 6 as the hyper-contagious Delta variant helped to drive a resurgence in infections that has strained hospitals.
A COVID-19 task force agreed on Thursday to allow more businesses to open their doors from Saturday. But a stay-at-home order for non-essential workers would remain in place and restaurant dining is still banned.
The decision to ease restrictions came as the number of new infections hit a record 17,231 on Friday, pushing the country’s caseload to more than 1.8 million since the start of the pandemic, health department figures show.
“Over the coming days, the number of our COVID-19 cases may rise further,” it warned.