Buckle Up, Fam: Metro Manila can still return to stricter quarantine

Filipinos queuing up to enter a reopened mall under GCQ <i>Photo: SM Supermalls</i>
Filipinos queuing up to enter a reopened mall under GCQ Photo: SM Supermalls

If the coronavirus has taught us anything, it’s things can and will change.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque affirmed this when he announced yesterday that Metro Manila can revert back to a stricter form of quarantine if the number of coronavirus cases continues to spike.

“In the case of Metro Manila, [transitioning] to MGCQ [modified general community quarantine], it’s always dependent on data. We will look at the case doubling rate, we will look at the critical care capacity,” Roque said in a Malacañang virtual presser, adding that the decision to revert or downgrade the measures lies with the anti-COVID-19 task force.

“If the [number of infected cases] increases, of course, there is a possibility that we won’t graduate to the next phase… If the trend continues, either we will remain under GCQ or we may go back to modified ECQ [enhanced community quarantine],” he added.

The country’s current qurantine classification are as follows:

ECQ – The strictest form of quarantine. Only essential industries including businesses that trade food and medicine are allowed to operate. Quarantine passes are required, which allows only one person per household to run out for essential supplies.

Modified ECQ – a more lenient form of ECQ which allows but limits mass gathering to five people, residents are allowed to do limited outdoor exercises like jogging and walking but must wear face masks and practice social distancing.

GCQ – public transport are allowed to resume operations but should carry passengers at half capacity, and select establishments like malls are allowed to partially reopen, quarantine passes are no longer needed in most areas, unless required by local government.

Modified GCQ – the lowest form of quarantine before transitioning into the “new normal.” Dine-in options in restaurants are available, a gathering of up to 10 people are allowed provided they practice social distancing, and the presence of checkpoints and uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine measures under said area becomes least necessary.

New normal – All forms of quarantine are lifted, but social distancing and wearing of face coverings at all time when leaving the house is still imposed.

Read: Metro Manila put under general community quarantine despite spike of COVID-19 cases

Metro Manila has only been downgraded into a looser form of quarantine for 10 days. After the GCQ was imposed on June 1, select industries including restaurants, barbershops, and gyms were allowed to reopen, and most local government units got rid of the need for quarantine passes.

A return to MECQ would mean mass transport would again be suspended, and the number of reopened establishments will be reduced.

Roque says that the anti-COVID task force will discuss if Metro Manila will revert to a stricter quarantine and make their recommendation to President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City this week. Changes in quarantine classification are expected to take effect on June 16.

Aside from Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Pangasinan, Albay, and Davao City are currently under GCQ, while the rest of the country is MGCQ, the least restrictive form of a quarantine imposed by the government under “the new normal.”

To date, the country has 22,992 confirmed cases, with 518 new cases reported yesterday.



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