COVER STORY

TIMELINE: How the Philippines is handling COVID-19

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — ​​​​​​​The Philippines has been grappling with the COVID-19 epidemic for months now, with communities facing rising infections.

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. According to the World Health Organization, ​about 80 percent of patients only experience mild illness and recover. Around 14 percent go through severe symptoms while five percent fall critically ill.

The disease is spread through small droplets from the nose or mouth when infected people cough, sneeze or talk. It is said to be more damaging to the elderly, as well as people who have preexisting medical conditions. Authorities recommend regular and proper hand washing, covering the nose and mouth when coughing, and avoiding close contact with others to prevent infections. 

More than 300,000 people have caught the virus between January 30 until September, while ​simplified rules allowed the Department of Health to declare over 250,000 recovered patients. The death toll stands at more than 5,500. Authorities said the strict lockdown, which forced Filipinos ​to stay home and sent millions out of work, has somewhat slowed down the number of infections.

The country logged its first 100,000 cases on August 2, which doubled after three weeks.

​The Philippines now has the most number of confirmed cases in Southeast Asia, followed by Indonesia.

​The Philippine government is now moving towards eased quarantine rules to bring back jobs and business activities, after the economy dipped into a steep recession during the first half of 2020. More establishments are allowed to reopen while tourism-related operations are trying to get back on track.

Here's a timeline on the government's policy shifts to handle the COVID-19 pandemic:

Click here to view in full screen.

CNN Philippines' Multi-Platform News Writer Xave Gregorio contributed to this report.