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Metro Manila still under GCQ, may revert to MECQ
The country has breached the 60,000 mark in COVID cases, ahead of the projection of the UP experts, with 2,498 new infections that brought the total to 61,266 as of yesterday.
Miguel De Guzman

Metro Manila still under GCQ, may revert to MECQ

Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - July 17, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Local government units (LGUs) will lead the enforcement of strict localized lockdowns in their respective areas until the end of the month as Metro Manila remains under general community quarantine (GCQ).

Addressing the nation on Wednesday night, President Duterte said he was keeping the National Capital Region under GCQ until July 31, rejecting the recommendation of a group of experts from the University of the Philippines to have the NCR placed under a tougher modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr., however, warned that Metro Manila might still be reverted to MECQ if COVID cases continue to rise.

The country has breached the 60,000 mark in COVID cases, ahead of the projection of the UP experts, with 2,498 new infections that brought the total to 61,266 as of yesterday.

Roque said yesterday that the arrangement involving the LGUs was laid down by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), as the country continues to battle the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) contagion.

His address came after a meeting with the IATF.

From the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), Cebu City is now under MECQ – as announced by Duterte – while Talisay, Minglanilla, and Consolacion – also in Cebu province – are placed under GCQ.

“Now, in our fight against COVID-19, the responsibility will be with the LGUs  since there is now localized or granular lockdown,” Roque said in Filipino.

Under the setup, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will be tapped for contact tracing activities.

The private sector will also play a bigger role in ensuring the wellbeing of employees, including having them tested for COVID. Roque said the aim now is to address the health situation while allowing a gradual resumption of economic activities.

He reiterated the need for the public to always abide by health protocols like the wearing of mask, frequent washing of hands, and observing physical distancing.

Under IATF resolution no. 55-A, highly urbanized cities in the National Capital Region and the municipality of Pateros under the general community quarantine (GCQ) status are directed to submit COVID-Kaya platform to the IATF, National Task Force on COVID and concerned agencies and units.

In the same resolution signed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles, the task force also directed the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Labor and Employment and Department of Transportation to ensure a complementary increase in the capacity of the business sector vis-à-vis available transportation.

The move is part of efforts to revitalize the economy in the NCR and Region 4-A. Also under GCQ, aside from the NCR, are Laguna, Cavite and Rizal in Region 4-A.

Other provinces in Region 4-A, namely Batangas and Quezon as well as Lucena City, meanwhile, are under MGCQ.

On placing NCR under GCQ, Roque said National Task Force on COVID chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año prevailed upon the President to retain the capital’s quarantine status, citing the intensive health and strict lockdown protocols being implemented in severely affected areas.

According to Roque, the Chief Executive had initially agreed with the UP experts’ recommendation regarding the quarantine status of the NCR.

“They will strengthen testing, tracing and treatment and enforce wider restrictions in areas under GCQ. That’s why the President agreed not to revert Metro Manila’s status to MECQ in the next two weeks,” Roque said in Filipino and English.

At a press briefing yesterday, Roque cited the UP experts’ declaring that the government has been doing well in educating the public on ways to stop the contamination of SARS-CoV-2.  Thus, the lower number of COVID cases compared to the UP forecast.

“Let’s do something to prevent the forecast of UP. Let us fight COVID-19,” he added.

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