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NCR Plus remains under GCQ with restrictions



Roman Catholic devotees wearing face masks, face shields and observing social distancing to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus attend mass on a road near Quiapo church in Manila on January 9, 2021, during the annual celebration of the feast of the Black Nazarene. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP)

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday kept Metro Manila and nearby Bulacan under general community quarantine “with some restrictions” until the end of the month amid the improving coronavirus situation in the area.

The surrounding provinces of Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal were also placed under GCQ with “heightened restrictions,” a lockdown status which has been in place in the areas since 15 May due to the persisting Covid-19 threat.

Batangas, Quezon, Abra, Baguio City, Kalinga, Mountain Province, and Benguet in the Cordillera Administrative Region; as well as Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino in Cagayan Valley were likewise placed under GCQ until 30 June.

The city of Iligan in Lanao del Norte; the provinces of General Santos City, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, Cotabato, and South Cotabato in Region 12; as well as Lanao del Sur and Cotabato City in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao would also remain under GCQ.

Meanwhile, the provinces of Cagayan, Apayao, Ifugao, Bataan, and the entire Zamboanga Peninsula were placed under a more restrictive classification dubbed modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until 30 June.

The cities of Santiago in Isabela, Lucena in Quezon Province, Puerto Princesa in Palawan, Naga in Camarines Sur, Iloilo in Iloilo Province, Cagayan de Oro in Misamis Oriental, Davao in Davao Region, and Butuan in Agusan del Sur were likewise placed under MECQ for two weeks starting Tuesday.

Also among the areas placed under MECQ include Dinagat Islands in Surigao del Sur.

All other provinces, Duterte said, were placed under modified GCQ starting Tuesday until the end of the month.

He made the announcement in his televised meeting with members of the pandemic task force.

During the meeting, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that the capital region reported fewer coronavirus infections compared to reported cases in provinces in the Visayas, Mindanao, and the rest of Luzon in recent weeks.

Metro Manila only logged a 6.76 average daily rate from 30 May to 12 June, significantly lower than the 34.02 recorded last 6 to 17 April, Duque said.

Only 47 percent of intensive care unit beds, 37 percent of isolation beds, 33 percent of ward beds, and 34 percent of ventilators were utilized in the metro, based on the latest health department’s data.

Nationwide, 58 percent of ICU beds, 47 percent of isolation beds, 48 percent ward beds, and 36 percent of ventilators were no longer available.

Earlier in the day, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority announced that mayors in the capital region have agreed to shorten the curfew hours from 12 a.m. to 4 a.m. starting June 15.

MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos said the local executives voted in favor of adjusting the previous curfew hours from the previous 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., based on the improvement of Covid-19 situation in the area, Abalos said.

The country has so far recorded 1.32 million coronavirus infections with over 22,800 fatalities.