Philippines extends COVID-19 curbs in capital, ban on inbound travel from several countries

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FILE PHOTO: Elderly patients with comorbidities get COVID-19 vaccinations at home

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday prolonged partial coronavirus curbs in the capital and nearby provinces until mid-June to contain infections that have been decreasing since hitting a peak in April.

Religious gathering remain capped at 30% of venue capacity while dining in restaurants can operate at 20% in the capital region, an urban sprawl of 16 cities that is home to at least 13 million people, and nearby provinces.

Non-essential travels will remain prohibited.

Daily COVID-19 cases in the Philippines averaged roughly 6,300 for May, down by a third from April, after the government reduced operating capacity of businesses and limited the movement of people.

Duterte also extended a ban on inbound travel from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates until June 15, to prevent transmission of the coronavirus variant first discovered in India that is circulating widely in that country and the region.

Travellers coming directly from those countries, or with a history of travel to any of them within the last 14 days, will be denied entry. The Philippines has reported 13 COVID-19 cases tied to the more infectious Indian variant known as B.1.617.2.

The Philippines has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Southeast Asia, next to Indonesia.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Bill Berkrot)