MGCQ in Metro Manila by November 'not an impossibility' â Palace
This screengrab is from the June 30, 2020 press briefing by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
PTV, screen grab

MGCQ in Metro Manila by November 'not an impossibility' — Palace

Alexis Romero ( - October 1, 2020 - 4:24pm

MANILA, Philippines — It's not impossible for Metro Manila to shift to the most lenient quarantine in November because of the downward trend in the number of new daily cases in the capital region, Malacañang said Thursday.

Businesses have been calling for the easing of quarantine measures in Metro Manila, which has more than 163,000 infections or more than half of the COVID-19 cases in the Philippines. Downgrading Metro Manila to the most lenient modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) from general community quarantine (GCQ) would allow enterprises to recover their losses and contribute to economic recovery, business groups said.

The government's pandemic task force, however, decided to keep Metro Manila under GCQ for the entire month of October since the region is still considered a medium risk area. Under GCQ, most businesses can operate partially but public gatherings remain restricted.

Metro Manila Council chairman and Paranaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez has said the capital region may be downgraded to MGCQ next month if the downward trend in the number of new cases continues.

"It (Metro Manila shifting to MGCQ) is not an impossibility because we were able to bring it (number of new cases) down," presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing.

"But it is still dependent on our countrymen in Metro Manila. We know what to do. Wear a mask, wash hands, avoid (close contact and crowded areas)," he added.

Roque reminded the public to take care of their health as the Philippines reopens its economy while containing the virus.

"We can live in spite of and despite COVID," the Palace spokesman said.

A report released by the OCTA Research late last month showed that the number of new COVID-19 cases per day in the Philippines went down to 2,988 in September from 4,300 in August. The country's reproduction number, meanwhile, dropped to 0.82 last month from 1.14 in August.

New COVID-19 cases per day in Metro Manila, which contributes more than a third of the Philippines' economy, decreased to 1,200 in September from 2,676 in August. Reproduction rate in the capital region, meanwhile, dropped to 0.74 last month from 1.14 in August. Metro Manila's positivity rate, on the other hand, eased to 10% this month from 16% in August. The occupancy rate for all COVID-19 beds in Metro Manila was at 57% while that for COVID-19 intensive care unit beds was at 65%, the report said.

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