What is modified, enhanced, general quarantine? Here's how to tell the difference

What is modified, enhanced, general quarantine? Here's how to tell the difference
In this photo taken May 6, 2020, residents of Addition Hills in Mandaluyong City do their grocery before their barangay will be placed under a one-week total lockdown from May 7 to 13.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 7:00 p.m.; May 13) — Malacañang on Tuesday announced the easing of quarantine guidelines over some areas as the country continues to contain the spread of the coronavirus contagion.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that from May 16 to 31, Metro Manila, Cebu City and the province of Laguna are placed under “modified enhanced community quarantine.”

The Palace, following recommendations from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, meanwhile placed several areas under general community quarantine.

Minimum public health standards shall be complied with all the time in all areas.

Here are the differences in protocols in these classifications:

Enhanced Community Quarantine – This is hoisted over areas deemed as “critical zone,” or those with more than 20 cases for every 100,000 population.

  • No movement regardless of age and health status
  • Minimal economic activity except for utility services (ie. food, power, water etc. and critical economic sector
  • No transportation activity except for utility services
  • No physical classes
  • No public transport
  • No domestic flights, limited international flights

Modified ECQ – Areas with cases from one to 19, per 100,000 population, deemed “containment zone” are placed under this classification.

  • Limited movement within zone for obtaining essential services and work
  • Operation of selected manufacturing and processing plants up to maximum of 50% workforce. Roque said they will finalize these industries and may be announced later Tuesday or Wednesday.
  • Limited transporting services for essential goods and services
  • No public transport
  • No domestic flights, limited international flights
  • Controlled inbound travel (OFWs/returning filipinos)
  • Biking and non-motorized transport encouraged
  • No inter-island travel
  • No physical classes at all levels

General Community Quarantine – This is for localities classified as “buffer zone,” or those “without cases but contiguous with localities with cases.”

  • Limited movement to services and work within Buffer Zone and Outside Buffer Zone
  • Operation of government offices and industries up to maximum of 75% workforce
  • Limited transporting services to support government and private operations
  • Flexible learning arrangements but no face-to-face learning is allowed
  • Public transport with strict safe distancing
  • Inter-island (GCQ to GCQ), with safety protocols

Modified GCQ – Areas deemed “outside buffer zone” without confirmed cases may be placed in this category.

  • Permissive socio-economic activities with minimum public health standard

Common protocols across community quarantine levels

According to the National Action Plan released on Wednesday, the following safety protocols will be implemented at every level of the community quarantine:

  • "No mask, no entry"
  • Frequent sanitation and handwashing
  • Avoid touching surfaces and face
  • Stricter protocols for higher-risk occupations, industries, and spaces

People are supposed to be at least one meter apart, which could mean reconfigured work spaces in industries allowed to return to work and a prohibition of coming into to the office if showing possible COVID-19 symptoms.

Companies that are resuming operations must also have work from home as a default. Employers must provide private shuttles for their workers and all employees must undergo antibody testing and a confirmatory PCR test if necessary. 

— Kristine Joy Patag, infographics from National Action Plan released by Office of the Presidential Spokesperson

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