President Rodrigo Duterte is set to announce on Wednesday the new quarantine classifications across the country with Metro Manila likely to remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) after 15 July, the Palace said Monday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque stated that the region would unlikely be placed under the less stringent modified GCQ since present data shows that hospital bed occupancy and new coronavirus infections continue to rise.
“Let me clarify. Even though there is no decision yet, and the President will be the one to announce that, we are looking at data to determine if we should relax the quarantine,” Roque said in a televised briefing.
“Perhaps at this point, data does not indicate that we can ease measures at least in Metro Manila,” he added.
Metro Manila mayors have also recommended to keep the region under GCQ, which has been its status for the past six weeks, said National COVID-19 task force chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr.
He also said that some local chief executives in the region recommended a “hybrid” form of MGCQ, where restrictions on social activities are maintained while rules on economic-related movements are eased. This suggestion would be reviewed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), he added.
Latest data from the Department of Health shows that Metro Manila remains as the region with the highest number of COVID-19 cases with 25,183 infections, followed by Central Visayas (10,502) and CALABARZON (3,798).
Among all cities in the capital region, Quezon City, Manila, and Caloocan have tallied the highest number of cases.
The government began to ease some measures on 1 June and allowed a partial return of public transportation in Metro Manila in a bid to prevent the country from plunging into a recession.
President Duterte would decide on the quarantine status on 15 July, a day after a third meeting of the IATF as they finalize their recommendations. On the same day, the existing quarantine classifications and guidelines would also end.
Galvez refused to reveal the current recommendations by the IATF, but he said that cities with growing number of infections could see quarantine rules “escalate” — hinting on stricter lockdown measures.Most of the country remains under the most relaxed MGCQ, but Cebu City is currently under the strictest form of quarantine due to a spike in cases.
There are now 56,259 positive cases in the country, with 2,124 new cases tallied on Sunday. Some 16,046 patients have recovered while 1,534 died.
Last week, President Duterte said the Philippines cannot completely reopen the economy for now since it would put the country in “deep shit,” admitting that the government would find it difficult to deal with another surge of infections with limited funds.
The President said the country cannot follow the “bold” move of other countries such as China and the United States in easing restrictions on economic activities, noting that they have almost suffered a “relapse” when they saw another wave of cases.