Philippine leader, President Rodrigo Duterte, has downgraded with effect from Saturday (August 21) the Covid-19 countermeasures in the National Capital Region to “modified enhanced community quarantine” from “enhanced community quarantine”, the presidential palace said in a statement late on Thursday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque stated Metro Manila would be under the new designation from August 21 to 31, inclusive. The region encompasses Entertainment City, home to several large-scale private-sector Philippine casino resorts.
The change was on the recommendation of the country’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
GGRAsia has approached the country’s casino regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), asking whether the change will enable the Entertainment City casinos to restart gaming operations.
Such business had been paused since August 6, following the previous imposition of enhanced community quarantine.
Metro Manila (pictured), Laguna, and Bataan had been placed under enhanced community quarantine, the strictest form of community quarantine, from August 6 until Friday (August 20), due to a spike in Covid-19 infections.
Mr Roque said – as cited by the official Philippine News Agency – that indoor and al fresco dine-in services, as well as personal care services such as beauty salons, beauty parlours, barber shops, and nail spas, would have to stay closed, even under the freshly-announced downgrade of quarantine.
It was reported on August 16 that a pregnant woman in the Western Visayas region of the country had been confirmed as having been infected with a so-called Lambda variant of Covid-19, a strain of the virus previously found in South America.
It was three weeks after she is thought to have contracted infection, that the Department of Health was able to confirm her as a Lambda variant case, reported a number of Philippine news outlets.
A Department of Health bulletin on Thursday on the Covid-19 situation in that nation said that 73 percent of the 1,400 intensive care unit beds available in the National Capital Region were currently in use.
It added that 60 percent of the 4,600 isolation hospital beds in that region were in use; as were 61 percent of the 1,100 ventilators that were available in the National Capital Region.
There were 14,895 new cases nationally as of Thursday’s bulletin, taking the country’s total registered since the start of the pandemic there, to just over 1.79 million.
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