The Philippines is to exempt people aged 60 or older who have been fully vaccinated from stay-at-home orders to encourage more to get inoculated and help authorities meet COVID-19 immunization targets, officials said yesterday.
People aged 60 or older living in areas under looser quarantine restrictions would be allowed to go out from Wednesday, but would still need to wear masks, face shields and practice social distancing, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.
People aged 60 or older, who account for four-fifths of COVID-19 deaths in the nation, were among priority groups in the government’s vaccination drive that began on March 1, but as of Sunday, only 1.54 million, or 16 percent of the more than 9 million people aged 60 and older, had got their first shot, while more than 343,000 had received their second dose.
“Get vaccinated to enjoy the incentive of going out to exercise and chat with your fellow senior citizens,” Philippine Undersecretary of Health Maria Rosario Vergeire told a news conference.
The Philippine government’s coronavirus task force yesterday also allowed non-contact sports venues like gyms and fitness studios, and historical sites and museums to reopen, but with a limited number of visitors.
After recording nearly 1,293,687 infections and 22,312 deaths, the Philippines is battling the second-highest COVID-19 caseload in the region after Indonesia.
The Philippines started vaccinating about 35 million people working outside their homes this week to curb transmission and help open the economy, but the drive was hit by a delay in vaccine deliveries.
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