Manila quarantine level eased but casinos remain on closure list

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Manilas integrated resorts and casinos will remain closed until at least the end of April, despite Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte declaring that the National Capital Region (NCR) and surrounding areas would now be subject to less restrictive quarantine measures.

The government announced Sunday that the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) measures in place since March would be eased to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) from 12 April to 30 April.

MECQ will apply to Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, allowing for government offices and some private businesses to reopen at 50% capacity. However, home-quarantine requirements will remain in place as will a common curfew between the hours of 8pm and 5am, with the movement of people limited to accessing essential goods and services, and for work in permitted offices or establishments.

A lengthy list of venues still not permitted to operate under guidelines from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases includes casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments except for the draws conducted by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

Entertainment venues such bars and clubs, recreational venues such as cafs and amusement halls, amusement and theme parks, plus gyms, sporting venues and tourist attractions remain on the banned list.

The slight easing of restrictions follows an increase in the number hospital beds made available for COVID-19 patients in NCR hospitals, although the Philippines still recorded 12,674 new cases on Saturday and 11,681 on Sunday pushing the national tally to above 860,000.

The Philippines hit an all-time high of daily cases of 15,298 on 2 April.