MANILA: Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday (May 28) approved a recommendation to ease the lockdown in the capital Manila from Jun 1, resuming much-needed activity in an economy on the brink of recession.
Strict restrictions on commerce and movement since mid-March have ravaged the economy, which is facing its deepest contraction in 34 years.
The nation reported 17 more deaths and 539 new infections on Thursday, the largest number of cases reported in a single day since the virus was first detected in the country.
In a bulletin, the ministry said total infections have risen to 15,588 and deaths have reached 921. The number of recovered patients was 3,598.
The country's coronavirus task force had recommended the easing of lockdown measures to Duterte.
Manila accounts for most of the nation's coronavirus cases and deaths.
Under the more relaxed rules that will be in place from Jun 1 to 15, local officials can still place communities deemed as high risk under lockdown.
Gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed, workplaces, shops and some public transportation will reopen and movement in and out of Manila will be permitted.
Schools, universities, tourist destinations, dine-in restaurants will stay closed, however, while stay-at-home orders will remain for the elderly and children.
Until two weeks ago, Manila's measures were among the world's toughest, on a par with those of Wuhan and stricter than curbs at the peak of contagion in Italy and in Spain, where a combined 484,000 people were infected, of which 60,000 died.