President Rodrigo Roa Duterte approved the recommendation Wednesday of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), placing Metro Manila and its four nearby provinces under general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions” from August 1 to 15 amid the threat of COVID-19 Delta variant.
The government’s coronavirus task force made its recommendations for the month of August after a group of health experts called for a “circuit-breaking” lockdown in the National Capital Region due to the threat posed by the highly contagious mutated variant of COVID-19.
Aside from the quarantine restriction for Metro Manila and its adjacent provinces, Iloilo City, Iloilo Province, Cagayan de Oro City, and Gingoog City will be under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until August 7. These areas are under the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) since July 16.
Meanwhile, Ilocos Norte, Bataan, Lapu-Lapu City, and Mandaue City will be under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from August 1 to 15.
The IATF-EID has recommended the retention of the GCQ with “heightened restrictions” classification of Metro Manila, upgrading Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan, the so-called NCR-Plus, to the same status from August 1 to 15.
Areas that will also be under GCQ with “heightened restrictions” for the same period include Ilocos Sur, Cagayan, Lucena City, Naga City, Antique, Aklan, Bacolod City, Capiz, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao Occidental, and Butuan City.
Areas that will be under the regular GCQ include Baguio City, Apayao, City of Santiago, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Quezon, Batangas, Puerto Princesa, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, City of Zamboanga, Zamboanga del Norte, General Santos City, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Sur, and Cotabato City.
The rest of the Philippines will remain under the more lenient modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) classification.
Under MGCQ, businesses can work normally while complying to minimum health standards like social distancing and the use of face masks and shields.
Aside from issuing the quarantine classification, the government task force also recommended shortening the detection to isolation quarantine interval to less than five days due to the threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
The task force said it is necessary to implement facility isolation and quarantine and avoid home isolation that cause spike in infections.
The government should prepare its healthcare capacities and systems, strengthen its preparation in case the number of cases increases, expedite vaccination of A2 and A3 populations; and impose stricter border control protocol at all the ports of entry of every area, the task force added.
The country has a total of 1,566,667 coronavirus infections after the Department of Health (DOH) recorded 4,478 new cases as of July 28. According to the health department, active cases in the country totaled 54,552 with 1,484,714 recoveries and 27,401 deaths. PND