The Philippines announced the lifting of strict quarantine measures against the new coronavirus disease in the national capital and in neighboring provinces.
Quarantine measures in the rest of the country will also be relaxed.
The declaration was made even as the country’s Health department announced that the total number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines climbed past 164,000.
Health officials said over 3,000 new cases have been recorded on Monday, August 17, bringing the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country to 164,474.
The Health department said 86 percent of newly reported cases occurred in the past 14 days.
Despite the increasing number of infections, President Rodrigo Duterte placed the national capital under the more relaxed “general community quarantine” from August 19 to August 31.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the easing of quarantine measures will allow all industries to reopen, including allowing dine-in operations in restaurants.
The celebration of public religious activities, including Holy Masses, may resume at 30 percent capacity of the venue.
The government’s decision came even as experts studying the pandemic warned that cases may reach 230,000 by the end of the month if Manila is placed under “general community quarantine.”
The Octa group of experts urged the government to keep Metro Manila and nearby provinces under stricter quarantine measures “to reverse the surge” of infections.
The Health department has earlier attributed the rise in cases of infections over the last few days to sustained community transmission of the disease.