Manila to return to strictest lockdown measures from 6 August

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Casinos across Manila are set to close again after Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte announced the National Capital Region would be placed under the strictest Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) for two weeks.

The ECQ measures will be in place from 6 to 20 August, with heightened General Community Quarantine (GCQ) measures in place in the meantime, in an effort to stop the highly contagious Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus from spreading.

Under ECQ restrictions, which were previously in place for a month from 29 March until 30 April, all indoor tourist attractions, including casinos, must suspend operations.

Gaming areas within Manilas integrated resorts had, as of 26 July, seen their capacity cut from 50% to 40% due to tighter GCQ restrictions put in place.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said, It is not an easy decision [to place Manila back into ECQ]. We have spent so much time to debate on the proposal.

This latest setback represents the third time Manila has entered ECQ, including the initial wave early last year which resulted in Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR ordering all casinos on the main island of Luzon closed from 15 March 2020.

The nations quarantine measures were gradually eased from June 2020 onwards with Manilas integrated resort operators granted permission to resume at 30% capacity in August. However, a much larger outbreak still sweeping the Philippines saw strictECQ measures again implemented in the National Capital Region from 29 March 2021.