Berliner Tageblatt - Philippines now at 'low risk' from coronavirus: gov't

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Philippines now at 'low risk' from coronavirus: gov't
Philippines now at 'low risk' from coronavirus: gov't / Photo: ©

Philippines now at 'low risk' from coronavirus: gov't

The Philippines is now at "low risk" from the coronavirus pandemic as more people get vaccinated and hospital admissions drop, President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman said Tuesday.

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The country last week reopened to foreign tourists for the first time in two years, though some health restrictions remain as campaigning for the May 9 elections starts, with political rallies seen as potential superspreader events.

"The National Capital Region and the entire Philippines now have a low-risk classification" in terms of case growth, prevalence and health system capacity, Duterte spokesman Karlo Nograles told reporters.

After surges of the highly transmissible Omicron and Delta strains of the virus that led to government-enforced restrictions on mobility, hospital bed occupancy rates have eased to about 30 percent.

Cases have averaged about 3,600 daily in the past week as the number of fully vaccinated people climbed to around 56 percent of the population, health officials said.

After lengthy lockdowns which ravaged the economy and put millions out of work, the government is now planning for a lifting of all restrictions, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters without giving a time frame.

"When that happens, all restrictions will be lifted and everything will be under self-regulation," she added.

The virus has infected more than 3.6 million people and killed more than 55,000, according to government data.