Philippines Extends Curbs in Capital Region Until End of January Amid COVID-19 Surge

By Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.
January 15, 2022 Updated: January 15, 2022

The Philippine government has decided to extend the restrictions imposed in the capital region until the end of January, an official said on Friday amid a surge in the country’s coronavirus cases.

Acting Presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles said on Friday that the national capital region will remain under Alert Level 3 until the end of January, state-owned media Philippine News Agency reported.

This came after 28 other areas were placed under Alert Level 3 until Jan. 31 as part of the government’s effort to curb the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus—also known as the novel coronavirus—Nograles said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Philippines reported 34,021 new CCP cases on Thursday, with 43 total Omicron cases detected as of Jan. 10.

The Metro Manila Council had also recommended keeping the Alert Level 3 status for Metro Manila due to “a slight increase” in the region’s health care utilization rate.

Most establishments and activities are permitted at 30 percent indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals and 50 percent outdoor venue capacity under Alert Level 3, but this doesn’t apply to establishments and activities classified as high-risk transmission.

Intrazonal and interzonal travel are also permitted in areas under Alert Level 3, subject to restrictions based on age and comorbidities.

The government has also imposed a “no vaccine, no ride” policy on public transportation this week, in which only fully vaccinated people are allowed to take public transportation in Metro Manila.

Unvaccinated individuals with underlying medical conditions, as well as those who obtain essential goods and services with official permission, will be exempt from the policy.

The Department of Transportation said the policy imposed in the capital region is not intended to discriminate against unvaccinated individuals, but rather to protect public health and to ensure the business sectors can continue to operate, local reports stated.

“If we do not act now, all industries and business sectors will be severely affected. Either the businesses will minimize workers, cut down on some parts of their business, retrench employees, or shut down to cut down on losses or pay off debts,” the ministry said.

The policy follows President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to arrest unvaccinated people who failed to comply with stay-at-home orders.

“I’m now giving orders to the barangay captain to look for those persons who are not vaccinated and just would request them or order them, if you may, to stay put. And if he refuses, he goes out of the house and goes around in the community or maybe wherever [he goes], he can be restrained,” Duterte said in a pre-recorded public address on Jan. 2.

Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.