MANILA -- The Department of Health (DOH) and its panel of experts will meet next week to study if the Philippines should be placed under stricter quarantine protocols in August, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Saturday night.
Authorities tightened several policies earlier this week after the number of Delta variant carriers in the country tripled to about 70 people, from just 19 earlier this month.
The Delta variant is known to be more contagious than the original COVID-19 strain as one carrier could infect up to 8 people at any given time, the DOH earlier said.
The National Capital Region and 4 other provinces were placed under stricter general community quarantine (GCQ) after Delta variant cases were detected in these regions.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the move to place these areas under GCQ with heightened restrictions means that non-essential activities are not allowed.
"Itong mga superspreader events, bawal talaga at pinapahinto natin yung mga non-essential activities," Lopez said in a televised press conference with President Rodrigo Duterte and other Cabinet members.
(These superspreader events are not allowed and non-essential activities should be stopped.)
"Naka-focus 'yung opening sa economy, hindi sa non-essential activities," he said.
(The opening of some areas is focused on the economy, not on non-essential activities.)
Among the activities and businesses allowed to continue are operations in manufacturing, business process outsourcing and exporting, Lopez said.
"We are allowing economic activities to continue... As long as we follow health standards, mame-maintain natin ang momentum," he said.
"Nakakabawi naman po ang ating economy. Unti-unti na pong nakakabangon," he said.
(Our economy is restarting. We are slowly regaining strength.)