Philippines News, Philippines Covid, Philippines Covid Cases, Philippines suspends online classes ‘to ease health burden’ for students and teachers
Schools in the Philippine capital Manila were ordered on Friday to suspend online classes for a week as a record rise in infections brought on by Omicron ravages the metropolis of 13 million.
Covid-19 is spreading in the National Capital Region and surrounding provinces, causing widespread disruption to businesses, services and healthcare providers.
The order given to schools in the capital to suspend online classes until Jan. 22 was aimed at “alleviating the health burden” on teachers and students, the regional education ministry said in a memorandum.
Thousands of teachers and students have been infected with Covid-19, according to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, which welcomed the “sanitary break”.
In an apparent effort to limit the havoc wrought by Omicron and get people back to work faster, the government has also shortened the isolation period for people with mild symptoms of the disease from 10 to seven days.
The decision to suspend classes comes days after the National Education Ministry gave schools in the archipelago the option to suspend classes for two weeks this month as Omicron whips across the country.
Only about half of the Filipino population is fully immunized.
While nearly every country in the world has partially or fully reopened schools for face-to-face classes, the Philippines has largely closed them since March 2020.
A pilot return of some schools to in-person classes in November was put on hold in December due to rising infections.
The number of new cases hit a record 37,207 on Friday, with more than three million people in the country infected since the start of the pandemic.
But a lack of testing and the exclusion of antigen results from the tally means the true figure is likely much higher.
To revive the struggling economy, the government eased lockdowns in October last year after coronavirus infections caused by the Delta variant peaked.
The number of new infections dipped to a few hundred a day just before Christmas, but rose again as people gathered over the holidays.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)