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Metro Manila to be placed under ECQ from August 6-20

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 12:01 p.m.) — Metro Manila will again be placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine from August 6 to 20 amid the threat of the more contagious Delta coronavirus variant, Malacañang announced Friday.

Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the government’s pandemic task force to place the capital region under the strictest quarantine regime to avoid overwhelming hospitals.

“Masakit na desisyon po ito dahil alam nating mahirap ang ECQ, pero kinakailangan gawin po ito para maiwasan ‘yong kakulangan ng ating mga ICU beds at iba pang hospital requirements kung lolobo po talaga ang kaso dahil po sa Delta variant,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on state television.

(This is a difficult decision because we know that ECQ is hard, but we need to do this to avoid a shortage in ICU beds and other hospital requirements if there will be a surge due to the Delta variant.)

Aside from movement restrictions, part of the difficulty of being under ECQ are work stoppages in industries which are not allowed to operate while this quarantine regime is in effect.

Aid available?

Asked by Philstar.com if the government will give aid to Metro Manila residents affected by the lockdown, Roque said that this is Duterte’s directive, adding that it is “most likely” that they will receive P1,000 per individual, or up to P4,000 per household.

Before Metro Manila shifts to ECQ, it will first be put under a stricter general community quarantine from July 30 to August 5, where all dining services will be banned and only takeout and deliveries will be allowed for food establishments.

Religious gatherings will also be prohibited, but necrological services, wakes, inurnment, funerals of those who died of causes other than COVID-19 will be allowed, but can only be attended by immediate family members.

Personal care services like salons and barber shops can open up to 30% capacity.

Indoor sports courts and venues, indoor tourist attractions, specialized markets of the Department of Tourism cannot operate, while outdoor tourist attractions can operate up to 30% capacity.

Only the following will be allowed to travel into and out of the greater Manila area:

 

  • Health and emergency frontline services personnel
  • Government officials and government frontline personnel
  • Duly-authorized humanitarian assistance actors
  • Persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons
  • Persons going to the airport for travel abroad
  • Anyone crossing zones for work or business permitted in the zone of destination, and going back home
  • Returning or repatriated OFWs and other overseas Filipinos returning to their places of residence
  • Other persons transported through the efforts of the national government upon observance of the necessary quarantine protocols and with the concurrence of the receiving local government units

Under pressure

Roque said the one-week GCQ “with heightened restrictions and additional restrictions” and the two-week ECQ will help curb coronavirus infections even with the presence of the Delta variant.

He added that the government is not immediately imposing an ECQ in Metro Manila because hospitals can still care for patients.

Pressure was mounting for the government to place Metro Manila under ECQ even before a massive spike in COVID-19 cases, with independent research group OCTA, business groups and mayors from the region urging for a lockdown to be put in place.

“We prefer that we solve the problem early and not wait for the problem to get bigger, because then we will have a lockdown for months,” presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said Wednesday.

Ranjit Rye, a fellow of the OCTA Research think tank, declared on Tuesday that there is a surge in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, which the Department of Health denied the following day, saying that there is “no definitive evidence” yet that the capital region is seeing a surge in infections.

But Metro Manila Council chairman Benhur Abalos pointed out Thursday that the growth rate of infections in the region was at 19%, a significant increase from the -6% the region was recording a few weeks ago.

Quarantines outside Metro Manila

Iloilo City, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro City, Gingoog City will remain under ECQ until August 7.

Meanwhile, Cebu City and Cebu province will be placed under modified ECQ from August 1 to 15, subject to the appeal of their respective local government units.

Ilocos Norte, Bataan, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City will also be under MECQ from August 1 to 15.

The following areas will be under GCQ with heightened restrictions from August 1 to 15: 

  • Ilocos Sur
  • Cagayan
  • Bulacan
  • Cavite
  • Rizal
  • Laguna
  • Lucena City
  • Naga City
  • Antique
  • Aklan
  • Bacolod City
  • Capiz
  • Negros Oriental
  • Zamboanga del Sur
  • Misamis Oriental
  • Davao City
  • Davao del Norte
  • Davao Occidental
  • Davao de Oro
  • Butuan City
  • Meanwhile, these areas will be under GCQ for the whole month of August:
  • Baguio City
  • Apayao
  • Santiago City
  • Quirino
  • Isabela
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Batangas
  • Quezon
  • Puerto Princesa
  • Guimaras
  • Negros Occidental
  • Zamboanga Sibugay
  • Zamboanga City
  • Zamboanga del Norte
  • Davao Oriental
  • Davao del Sur
  • General Santos City
  • Sultan Kudarat
  • Sarangani
  • North Cotabato
  • South Cotabato
  • Agusan del Norte
  • Agusan del Sur
  • Surigao del Norte
  • Surigao del Sur
  • Dinagat Islands
  • Cotabato City

The rest of the Philippines will be under modified GCQ, the most lax quarantine regime.

COMMUNITY QUARANTINE COVID-19 VARIANT DELTA VARIANT METRO MANILA
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