Metro Manila council votes to ease GCQ status to MGCQ
This July 28, 2020 photo shows people wearing face masks and health workers clad in personal protective equipment.
The STAR/Edd Gumban

Metro Manila council votes to ease GCQ status to MGCQ

(Philstar.com) - February 18, 2021 - 12:41pm

MANILA, Philippines — Though a close fight, the Metro Manila Council voted in favor of easing quarantine status anew to modified general community quarantine in March after months of GCQ, a Metro Manila mayor disclosed Thursday. 

Speaking in an interview aired over DZBB Super Radyo, Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco said that nine of the metro's mayors voted to ease quarantine status in the region to modified general community quarantine this March, while eight mayors wanted to retain GCQ status. 

Although they are not binding in any way, the recommendations of the MMC have historically been mirrored by the coronavirus task force and later approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.

As it stands, much of the country is already under MGCQ, with only the National Capital Region, Batangas, Abra, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Lanao del Sur and Iligan still under the tighter GCQ.

READ: Metro Manila will be under 'constant' threat of surge if it shifts to MGCQ — OCTA

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases has begun mulling easing restrictions once more to, they said, keep the economy afloat. 

Over the past week, the IATF has looked at re-opening arcades and cinemas and lowering the age restrictions for individuals allowed to go outdoors. 

Just the day before, the OCTA Research Group warned that a shift to MGCQ — the IATF's loosest quarantine designation — would trigger yet another surge in coronavirus cases.

The research group made the same warning in May, saying that a premature return to GCQ could add some 24,000 cases and 1,700 deaths by June — a prediction that, for the most part, was not incorrect months later, after the IATF went ahead with its GCQ classification anyway. 

Earlier Tuesday, the National Economic and Development Authority also pushed for a shift to MGCQ, saying such a move would help mitigate hunger and unemployment in the country. 

RELATED: Palace on quality of life survey: All of us are having a hard time

As of the health department's latest case tally Wednesday afternoon, exactly 553,424 coronavirus cases have been recorded in the Philippines since the pathogen first emerged in December 2019. 

It has been 338 days since the initial enhanced community quarantine was hoisted over some parts of Luzon. 

The Philippines is still under the world's longest quarantine, despite government claims of a "successful" coronavirus response. 

— Franco Luna with reports from Christian Deiparine and Gaea Katreena Cabico 

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: April 20, 2021 - 7:53pm

Follow this thread for updates on COVID-19 risk levels, safety measures, and data from Metro Manila's local government units.

Photo: The STAR/Michael Varcas

April 20, 2021 - 7:53pm

The Department of Tourism supports the construction of temporary hospitals and pandemic-related facilities in tourism sites, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat says Tuesday.

"The DOT is gratified and honored to be able to use its parks and public spaces in support of the national pandemic response," she says.

She made the comment at the groundbreaking for a Mega Field Hospital at the Burnham Green in Rizal Park in Manila.

April 18, 2021 - 9:26am

St. Luke's Medical Center hospitals in Taguig and in Quezon City are at full capacity for COVID-19 patients, SLMC says Sunday morning.

It says that aside from the COVID-19 wards and ICU units being full, there are also "several critical patients in waiting at the Emergency Room."

SLMC says those who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and who are in need of immediate treatment should consider other healthcare institutions for now. 

March 29, 2021 - 7:40am

Former president and Manila mayor Joseph "Erap" Estrada has tested positive for COVID-19.

Estrada's son, former senator JV Ejercito on Monday morning tweeted that his father was rushed to the hospital.

"Please pray for all those who are likewise fighting this virus," Ejercito says.

March 28, 2021 - 3:25pm

Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center in Tondo is at full capacity for COVID-19 patients, Manila's Public Information Office announces.

The hopsital's COVID-19 ward and isolation rooms are already at 124.44% capacity while suspected COVID-19 cases are also waiting for swab test results.

The hospital will limit admission of COVID-19 patients but the emergency room will remain open.

March 25, 2021 - 8:38am

The COVID-19 reproduction rate in Metro Manila dropped to 1.91 as of March 24 but it is too early to tell if this is the start of a downward trend in the region, OCTA research says.

The average of new COVID-19 cases in the capital region was at 3,804 per day over the past week, which is a 61% increase from the previous week.

"The daily attack rate in NCR increased to 27.2 per 100,000, which puts the region in the high risk classification," the report read.

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