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Philippines Allows Hotel Conventions as Cases Ebb to 5-Month Low

(Bloomberg) — The Philippines has eased its rules on mass gatherings as part of a broader policy to further reopen businesses as new coronavirus infections fell to their lowest in almost five months.



a man holding a gun: An employee wearing a protective face shield, mask and gloves sanitizes an escalator inside Megaworld Corp.'s Uptown Mall in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) during a partial lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus in Metro Manila, the Philippines, on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Police or local government units can shut shopping malls and charge owners that violate distancing rules under the modified enhanced community quarantine that started on May 16, Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano said in a statement on Sunday.


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An employee wearing a protective face shield, mask and gloves sanitizes an escalator inside Megaworld Corp.’s Uptown Mall in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) during a partial lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus in Metro Manila, the Philippines, on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Police or local government units can shut shopping malls and charge owners that violate distancing rules under the modified enhanced community quarantine that started on May 16, Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano said in a statement on Sunday.

Hotels, malls and restaurants may now hold trade events, seminars and board meetings in areas under general community quarantine including in Metro Manila, provided only 30% of the venue’s capacity is used, the nation’s virus task force said in a resolution released Friday.

The move will help boost the economy and aid the hotel industry, the Management Association of the Philippines said in a statement. Economic managers are pushing to further reopen an economy that’s forecast to shrink as much as 9.5% this year.

Philippines Eyes China, Russia For Early Vaccine Access

The Philippines has the second-worst outbreak in Southeast Asia, even as daily cases have declined over the past days. It reported 934 new cases on Friday, the lowest since mid-July and pushing total infections to over 436,000. The number of persons tested, however, has also fallen to over 25,000 from a high of almost 45,000 in September, based on Health Department data.

(Updates with latest case count, business group’s statement.)

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