President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has loosened the restriction in Metro Manila and its nearby provinces placing them under general community quarantine (GCQ) starting August 19 until August 31.
In an announcement Monday night, President Duterte said Metro Manila, as well as the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan, will be placed under GCQ.
Other areas that were put under GCQ include Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Quezon Province, Iloilo City, Cebu City, Lapu Lapu City, Mandaue City, Talisay City, and the municipalities of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu.
The rest of the Philippines will be under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), according to the President.
President Duterte decided to relax the restrictions in the National Capital Region and its surrounding areas after the 15-day stricter quarantine classification since August 4 based on the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
While the government has loosened the restrictions, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said several measures would be imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“At ito nga po ay kinakailangan buksan po natin ang ekonomiya sabay po ‘yung tinatawag nating refresh — iyong ire-refresh po natin ‘yung mga responses natin sa COVID,” he said in a virtual meeting with the President.
These include conducting intensified testing, isolating as well as treating those who are tested positive.
Roque told the President that the government has started pooled testing, expanding its capacity to test people using a single test kit.
Authorities will also conduct house-to-house search for symptomatic patients, which the government has pilot tested during the two-week modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ). This is called Project Code, Roque said.
“I-i-swab po natin ‘yung mga mayroong sintomas at ihihiwalay po natin ‘yung mga positibo. Gagamitin po natin ‘yung mas malawakang tracing na itinuro sa atin ni Mayor Magalong, 1:15 po ang magiging tracing natin,” he explained.
“At siyempre po gumagawa po tayo ng mas marami pang mga facilities para mas marami po ‘yung mga hospital natin at kakayahan na gamutin ang magkakasakit ng COVID.”
The government also inaugurated 250 exclusive COVID-19 beds at the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City, easing the critical care capacity of health facilities.
The public could also avail the services of the One Hospital Command Center, which accepts referrals for those who contracted the virus.
Aside from those efforts to fight the contagion, the President’s spokesman reminded the public to cooperate with authorities to ensure success. These include following government-mandated minimum health standards: mask wearing, frequent handwashing, and observing physical distancing. PND