Religious gatherings still prohibited in the Philippines despite relaxed lockdown measures

The Philippines is still banning religious activities in public even after authorities eased quarantine measures across the country.

The country’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases denied proposals this week to allow mass gatherings for religious purposes.

“I cannot say when it will be allowed but we will consider the data,” said presidential spokesman Harry Roque.

“We will look into the preparedness for critical care. But for now, we will not allow mass gatherings for religious purposes,” he said.

On June 1, the country’s capital region has transitioned from a “modified enhanced community quarantine” to the more relaxed “general community quarantine.”

The decision to ease the lockdown restrictions came after Metro Manila mayors submitted their recommendations to the inter-agency task force last week.

The local chief executives pressed for the more relaxed quarantine measures to allow businesses to operate and the economy to restart.

Representatives of the religious sector and civil authorities already met to discuss plans on how to implement health protocols in church activities.

Authorities, however, maintained that religious gatherings should be restricted to up to 10 persons in areas under “general community quarantine.”

The country’s health department reported eight more deaths due to COVID-19 and 751 additional infections of the new coronavirus on June 3.

Total deaths due to the virus in the Philippines are at 974 and confirmed cases have risen to 19,748, reported Reuters.

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