MMDA: Metro Manila to restrict movements, activities of unvaccinated

MMDA: Metro Manila to restrict movements, activities of unvaccinated
Makati residents receive the first dose of the Sinovac vaccine at the Makati Coliseum.
Krizjohn Rosales, file

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila's mayors have agreed to pass local ordinances that will restrict the movements and activities of unvaccinated people in the National Capital Region while the region is under Alert Level 3 or higher, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said Monday morning.

The local legislation will restrict unvaccinated people to their homes and will bar them malls, restaurants and other public areas, MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos said in a briefing. He said that the mayors of Metro Manila have already agreed in principle to the sweeping restrictions although there may be differences among the ordinances that local governments will pass.

The government managed to vaccinate 50 million people in 2021, short of its target of 54 million.

Unvaccinated people are supposed to stay at home except for essential trips like buying food, water and medicine. They will be allowed to engage in individual outdoor exercise "within the general area of residence" but will not be allowed to do much else.

Although going to work is among the valid exceptions, Abalos said that unvaccinated people will have to take RT-PCR tests every two weeks at their own expense and must present a negative COVID-19 test result before being admitted to on-site work.

This requirement will cover people who don't live in the National Capital Region but work there.

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Unvaccinated people will also be barred from eating at food establishments and will not be allowed to go on leisure and social trips to malls, hotels, event venues and sports and country clubs. They will also not be allowed domestic travel on public transportation.

"This is like [Enhanced Community Quarantine] but only for the unvaccinated, and for their own protection," Abalos said, referring to the strictest form of lockdown under a previous system that the government used from 2020 to part of 2021.

"It will be hard for us to go into lockdown again," he said earlier in the briefing. "We must learn how to live with the [Omicron] variant."

The Palace announced on December 31, 2021 that Metro Manila will be under Alert Level 3 from January 3 to 15 because of an increase in COVID-19 cases and the threat posed by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. — Jonathan de Santos

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