Philippines eases lockdown measures hinh anh 1Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) –
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on August 17 decided to ease lockdown measures in and around the capital Manila as his government promised a “refreshed” approach to fighting COVID-19 that includes intensified testing.

Duterte, in a televise address, held that it is necessary to reopen the economy with small and medium enterprises “barely surviving”, while at the same time calling on the public to “follow the safeguards”.

The Philippines, which before the pandemic was one of Asia’s fastest growing economies, fell into recession for the first time in 29 years with a record slump in the second quarter, due to the pandemic-induced lockdown.

Under the relaxed rules which will take effect on August 19, most businesses, including dine-in services will be allowed to reopen, according to Harry Roque, Duterte’s spokesman.

Religious services will also be permitted provided that houses of worship limit total attendance to 30 percent of a building’s capacity, he said.

Besides intensifying testing, the government will continue to conduct house-to-house checks to trace COVID-19 patients with mild or no symptoms so they could be escorted to quarantine establishments, he added./.