GCQ 'with heightened restrictions' in 'NCR Plus' until May 31


MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said the 'NCR Plus' bubble will shift to General Community Quarantine beginning May 15 until the end of the month.

The government in the last two months has sought to contain the surge in COVID-19 cases within Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan. 

Palace this week did not dismiss the possibility of NCR Plus shifting to a less stricter quarantine status citing improved capacity in hospitals.

Duterte's approval of the coronavirus task force's recommendation comes amid the country still reporting over 5,000 daily COVID-19 cases. 

GCQ, but with 'heightened restrictions'

NCR Plus will shift to the said quarantine status, but presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said some curbs will remain. 

Only essential travel into and out of the bubble is allowed and public transportation will continue to operate.  

Capacity on in-door dine-in services was increased to 20%, and al fresco dining at 50% seating capacity.

Personal care services not requiring face mask removal can operate at a 30% capacity, along with non-contact sports in outdoor contact sports, games and scrimmages.

Tourist spots within the bubble can open at 30% capacity, with strict adherence to minimum public health protocols.

"Further allowed in the NCR Plus are specialized markets of the Department of Tourism (DOT) following the minimum public health standards and implementation of protocols and restrictions as set by the DOT," Roque said. 

Religious gatherings as well as necrological services for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 are allowed at 10% venue capacity. 

The Palace spokesperson added that individuals between 18 to 65 years of age can leave their homes in GCQ areas with the heightened restrictions.

Other areas under GCQ from May 15 are: 

Cordillera Administrative Region

  • Apayao
  • Baguio City
  • Benguet
  • Kalinga
  • Mountain Province
  • Abra

Region 2 (Cagayan Valley):

  • Cagayan
  • Isabela
  • Nueva Vizcaya

Region 4-A (CALABARZON) 

  • Batangas
  • Quezon

Region 4-B (MIMAROPA)

  • Puerto Princesa

Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) 

  • Iligan City 

Region 11 (Davao)

  • Davao City

Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao

  • Lanao del Sur

Duterte said Santiago City in Isabela, Quirino, Ifugao and Zamboanga City will be under MECQ, while rest of the Philippines will be under modified GCQ.

The country has among the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Southeast Asia. On May 13, health authorities reported 6,385 new infections. 

Overall, the Philippines has tallied 1,124,724 cases, along with 18,821 deaths. — Christian Deiparine with reports from Alexis Romero/The STAR




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