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Granular lockdowns deferred, Metro Manila under MECQ 'until September 15'

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
Granular lockdowns deferred, Metro Manila under MECQ 'until September 15'
Personnel from the Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the City Health Department train members of the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams from 19 barangays of District 4 how to wear personal protective equipment in Dona Imelda covered court in Quezon City on March 13, 2020
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila will be under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine until September 15 after the Palace took back its earlier announcement of a shift to General Community Quarantine by September 8.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed this in a text message to reporters Tuesday evening, adding that the pilot run of the granular lockdowns would be deferred for the time being. 

"Metro Manila’s current risk classification as Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine shall be maintained until September 15, 2021, or until the pilot GCQ with Alert Level System is implemented, whichever comes first," Roque said in a statement to reporters.

He announced Monday that Metro Manila would revert to a less strict GCQ to give way to the pilot run of the new granular lockdown system. 

At a Palace briefing on Tuesday, Roque said that no guidelines had been issued yet as the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases asked him to hold off on the announcement of the guidelines on the granular lockdowns.

Roque is also spokesperson of the IATF, which makes policy recommendations to the president.

"I understand there are still suggestions and inputs from local government units, so that's what we're waiting for right now," he said then. 

"I made the announcement in principle so that people would know what to expect."

It is unclear why government officials from the trade and interior departments gave public interviews on the new classification system while guidelines were still being ironed out. 

Before his announcement, Roque said he "may" announce the guidelines within the day or by Wednesday morning, when granular lockdowns were already expected to begin. 

Roque said Monday that guidelines for the granular lockdowns would be released later that day or by Tuesday "at the latest." 

The announcement that Metro Manila would return to GCQ came after the Metro Manila Council and the IATF held a meeting on the new system.

Without guidelines from the national task force the day before the granular lockdowns were supposed to start, local governments were left to continue their own iterations of localized lockdowns.

To date, health authorities have recorded 2.12 million coronavirus infections in the country, 158,637 of whom are still classified as active cases. 

GENERAL COMMUNITY QUARANTINE

IATF

INTER-AGENCY TASK FORCE ON EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES

MODIFIED ENHANCED COMMUNITY QUARANTINE

PALACE

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON HARRY ROQUE

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