Philippines allows children to visit malls

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The Philippine government has further eased coronavirus restrictions in the capital, meaning children can once again go to malls and other commercial establishments after nearly two years of staying at home.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government's inter-agency task force against COVID-19 had placed Metro Manila, a sprawling metropolis of more than 13 million people, under a lower alert level, starting on Friday and through November 21.

Under the new alert level, children younger than 18 are now allowed to go out of their homes even for non-essential trips as long as they are with their parents.

The new protocols also allow indoor establishments to operate at 50-per-cent capacity and accept fully vaccinated adults as well as minors even if they are not yet vaccinated, Roque said.

"This is good news, and this is development that everyone has been waiting for, to be able to have livelihood again for many," he told a press conference.

"But it doesn't mean that we will be complacent now," Roque said.

"As long as there is COVID-19, the number of cases can spike any time. So we need to continue following health and safety protocols."

"And to those who have not yet been vaccinated, please get your jabs," he added.

The daily tally of COVID-19 cases have declined in the past weeks.

On Friday, the Department of health reported 2376 cases, pushing the country's total caseload since the start of the pandemic to 2.79 million.

The death toll was up 260 to 44,088.

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