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 a year 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 in the country caught the virus between January 30 until September 2020, while ​simplified rules allowed the Department of Health to declare over 250,000 recovered patients. 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 economy dived into a steep recession during the first half of 2020, and more establishments were allowed to reopen to help the country recover. Nevertheless, the economy plunged by 9.5% for the year in its worst recession since 1946.

A year after Metro Manila was first placed under community quarantine, the Philippine government is still caught between further reopening the economy and reverting to stricter lockdown rules. Health experts are warning against a possible variant-driven surge in some parts of Metro Manila and other communities even as COVID-19 vaccine doses are already being rolled out nationwide.

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 Writers Xave Gregorio and Glee Jalea contributed to this report.