Philippine authorities announced on Wednesday, July 29, that more businesses located in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) will be allowed to partially reopen from Saturday, August 1. Gyms, sports facilities, review centers, and internet cafes, will be permitted to reopen with a 30 percent capacity. Hair salons, personal services, and pet grooming parlors will also resume operations whilst following strict health protocols and hygiene measures. Additional restrictions will be implemented in these businesses, including the wearing of face masks or coverings, social distancing, and frequent sanitation of rooms. Internet cafes will reportedly be permitted to serve customers, particularly students, though gaming will not be permitted. Review centers will be allowed to accommodate up to ten persons per room. Theaters will remain closed, however, drive-in cinemas will be permitted to open in GCQ areas. Authorities are planning to increase these operations to up to 50 percent capacity within three weeks, dependent on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation in the country.
Additional businesses will be permitted to resume operating in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). These establishments reportedly include businesses offering massage services, tattoos and body piercings, and language, driving, dance, acting, and voice lessons. Furthermore, libraries, archives, museums, cultural centers, and tourist destinations, will be permitted to reopen, and live events will be allowed to resume. Social distancing measures and hygiene protocols will need to be observed.
As of July 30, there have been 85,486 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines and 1962 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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