Malacañang expects Philippines to shift to MGCQ by March
Roman Catholic faithfuls queue up as they wait for lay ministers to sprinkle ash on their heads during Ash Wednesday mass at a church in Manila on Feb. 17, 2021, marking the start of Lenten season in Catholic church calendar.
AFP/Jam Sta. Rosa

Malacañang expects Philippines to shift to MGCQ by March

(Philstar.com) - February 19, 2021 - 11:53am

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang already expects that the Philippines would be placed under modified general community quarantine by March, even as President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to decide on whether to accept recommendations to put the entire country under the laxest quarantine regime.

“We are expecting that Metro Manila and the entire Philippines would be placed under MGCQ,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in Filipino on state-run People’s Television, saying that Duterte may be swayed by the recommendations by the government’s pandemic task force and by a majority of mayors in the capital region.

Roque said Duterte is expected to make a decision on whether the country will shift to MGCQ on Monday, but his verdict would be announced before the end of the month.

In anticipation of the easing of coronavirus curbs, which experts and the World Health Organization have warned against, the government’s pandemic task force has removed specific restrictions on mass gatherings imposed in areas under the stricter GCQ.

“We’re just reiterating that there are no more special rules under GCQ because all of us are covered by rules under MGCQ, at least starting March 1 and if the president allows it,” Roque said in Filipino.

Roque also announced that more foreigners would be allowed entry into the Philippines, with the government’s pandemic task force now letting all foreigners with valid and existing visas at the time of entry to come to the country.

The Philippines is easing restrictions in a bid to revive an economy badly hit by the pandemic even as it has been recording on average around 1,600 new COVID-19 cases daily since November and as it faces threats of new, more infectious variants of the coronavirus.

The Department of Health has also confirmed the detection of two mutations of the virus that causes COVID-19, but their public health implications are still unknown.

The Philippines has the second-worst outbreak of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia, with over 555,000 cases and over 11,000 deaths. — Xave Gregorio

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: May 10, 2021 - 2:00pm

National Economic and Development Authority director general Karl Chua recommended that the entire Philippines, including the National Capital Region, be placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) in March. Bookmark this page for updates. (Main image by The STAR/Michael Varcas)

May 10, 2021 - 2:00pm

Cagayan, Apayao and Benguet will be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine from May 10 to May 23.

The inter-agency task force on COVID-19 announced this in a resolution dated May 9.

"The risk-level classifications of the aforementioned provinces shall be without prejudice to their reclassification as may be warranted and the declaration of localized enhanced community quarantine in critical areas," the resolution read.

April 15, 2021 - 4:13pm

The Department of Health reports an additional 11,429 COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of COVID- infections to 904,285.

  • Active cases: 183,527 or 20.3% of the total
  • Recoveries: 856, pushing total to 705,164
  • Deaths: 148, bringing total to 15,594
March 5, 2021 - 10:27am

The country's Food and Drug Administration reminds the public that online selling of all types of certified COVID-19 test kits (RT-PCR, antibody, antigen based) is strictly prohibited.

In an advisory dated March 4, FDA director general Eric Domingo stressed that the COVID-19 test kits with special certification are stricly for medical professional use and not intended for personal use.

February 19, 2021 - 7:45am

The inter-agency task force approves a resolution mandating pension-issuing agencies and their servicing banks and other institutions to adopt alternative modes of validation for senior citizen pensions.

At present, senior citizens make personal appearances or submit documents that require personal appearances before a notary public in order to have continuous access to their pensions. —  The STAR/Christina Mendez

February 18, 2021 - 12:13pm

Navotas mayor Toby Tiangco says nine mayors in the Metro Manila Council voted to ease quarantine status in the region to modified general community quarantine starting March 1.

Eight Metro Manila mayors, on the other hand, wanted to retain the GCQ status,

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