Manila and nearby cities will remain under a general lockdown next month amid a coronavirus pandemic, according to the presidential palace.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte also kept nine other areas — Apayao, Baguio City, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Batangas, Davao City, Tacloban City, Iligan City,  and Lanao del Sur — under a general community quarantine, his spokesman Harry L. Roque, Jr. told a televised news briefing on Saturday.

The rest of the country will remain under modified general lockdown, he added. Mr. Duterte earlier rejected a proposal from his economic planners to put the entire country under the most relaxed quarantine, citing the risk of a more contagious coronavirus variant.

The National Economic and Development Authority had pushed for the reopening of the economy to curb joblessness and hunger.

Meanwhile, an inter-agency task force also approved uniform travel protocols for local governments, Mr. Roque said.

Travelers would no longer be required to undergo swabbing unless ordered by a local government of destination, he said. Travelers must also not have coronavirus symptoms.

Travel authority as well as health certificates would no longer be required under the new protocols, Mr. Roque said.

“Authorities shall continue to strictly implement minimum public health standards, such as physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette and wearing of face masks and face shields across all settings,” Mr. Roque said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza