Duterte to announce new quarantine classifications next week
People stand on designated spots to maintain social distancing at a market during a government imposed enhanced quarantine as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Manila on April 21, 2020.
AFP/Maria Tan
Duterte to announce new quarantine classifications next week
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - September 27, 2020 - 4:58pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte Rodrigo is expected to announce this week the updated quarantine classifications of Metro Manila and other areas as the government continues to reopen the economy while preventing the further spread of COVID-19.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is expected to meet Monday to come up with a final recommendation on the lockdown scenarios to the president. The existing classifications, which took effect last September 1, will lapse at the end of the month.

It remains unsure though if Duterte will already disclose the new quarantine groupings on Monday.

"Baka hindi pa (Maybe not yet)," presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a text message when asked if Duterte would announce his decision on the quarantine by Monday.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, also IATF vice chairman, said the government's pandemic task force already has preliminary findings on the COVID-19 situation in different areas.

"We share the preliminary findings to the different LGUs (local government units)... and they have the opportunity to make an appeal if they want to...We will then look at the appeals, if there are any, and we will come up with a final recommendation to the president," Nograles said in a live online session on Saturday.  

"The president, ultimately, will decide on the community quarantine of the different provinces and NCR (National Capital Region)," he added.

Nograles said Metro Manila areas are facing different situations but noted that the mayors of the capital region prefer to have a single classification.

"Technically speaking, some of the cities may appeal for lower classification, those whose numbers are improving. But I do not want to preempt the announcement," the Cabinet official said.

Nograles said Metro Manila mayors were expected to meet Sunday to arrive at a consensus on the region's quarantine scenario.

Metro Manila, which contributes more than a third of the Philippines' economic output, was placed under the lenient general community quarantine (GCQ) on September 1. 
Most areas in the country are now under the most lenient modified general community quarantine, where practically all industries can partially resume operations.

Last Friday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the majority of the Metro Manila mayors want to remain under GCQ to ensure the safety of their constituents. 

Officials previously said the decision on whether to ease quarantine restrictions depends on various factors including the number of COVID-19 cases and the area's critical health care capacity. 

GENERAL COMMUNITY QUARANTINE INTER-AGENCY TASK FORCE FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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