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Gov’t mulls return of ‘new normal’ quarantine status  

MJ Blancaflor

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The government is eyeing to place parts of the country without coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the past month under the “new normal” classification, Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) has agreed to revert the quarantine status which lifts restrictions on business activities including travel, provided that minimum health standards are observed.

“I suggested myself that areas with zero transmission in the past month may be placed under the ‘new normal,’ which the IATF has agreed with,” Roque told reporters in a Palace briefing.

The “new normal” classification used to be the fifth and lowest quarantine classification until the task force temporarily removed it in June.

Under the current four-tier classification, the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) is the most lenient lockdown status. The majority of provinces in the Philippines are currently under MGCQ, except Metro Manila which remains under the general community quarantine (GCQ).

Under MGCQ, public gatherings such as movie screenings, concerts, sporting events, and other entertainment activities are allowed, but participants may fill no more than half of the capacity of the venue. The same rule applies to religious gatherings, community assemblies, and non-essential work gatherings.

The current lockdown classifications are set to lapse after 30 September.

So far, the Philippines has tallied over 290,000 coronavirus infections, of which 54,958 are active cases. The death toll, meanwhile, stands at 4,999.

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