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UPDATE 1-Philippine capital to retain coronavirus curbs until vaccinations

Economic IndicatorsFeb 22, 2021 21:10
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© Reuters

* Sinovac vaccines could arrive this month
* Long lockdown led to record economic slump
* Duterte puts public health ahead of economy - spokesman

(Adds details, background)
MANILA, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo
Duterte will maintain the current level of coronavirus
restrictions in the capital Manila until mass vaccinations
start, his spokesman said on Monday, despite calls to ease curbs
and revive the country's ailing economy.


The Philippines, among the fastest growing economies in Asia
before the pandemic, saw its gross domestic product slump by a
record 9.5% in 2020, as one of the world's longest and strictest
COVID-19 lockdowns shuttered thousands of businesses and left
millions out of work.


"The chief executive recognises the importance of reopening
the economy and its impact on people's livelihoods. However, the
president gives higher premium to public health and safety,"
spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.


The restrictions in Manila, the epicentre of the Philippine
epidemic, were set to end this month but will be extended until
the mass vaccination drive is underway.


Roque said earlier on Monday that would kick off with
600,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech SVA.O vaccines donated by
China, which should arrive later this month.


The Philippines has been talking to seven vaccine makers to
try to ensure sufficient supplies for more than two-thirds of
its 108 million population.


Its Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday granted
emergency use authorisation for the Sinovac vaccine, CoronaVac.
The capital region, an urban sprawl of 16 cities accounting
for 40% of the country's economic output, has been under partial
curbs since August, limiting the operating capacity of
businesses and public transport.


Face-to-face school and university classes are also
prohibited.


With more than 563,000 cases and nearly 12,100 deaths, the
Philippines has the second highest COVID-19 infections and
casualties in Southeast Asia, next to Indonesia.

 

UPDATE 1-Philippine capital to retain coronavirus curbs until vaccinations
 

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