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NCR Plus travel restricted

Año discouraged individuals residing in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite to travel to areas outside the bubble as the government seeks to restrict non-essential movement until the capital region reverts to enhanced community quarantine from 6 to 20 August.

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Metro Manila residents and those in nearby provinces were barred from stepping out of the “NCR Plus” bubble starting Sunday, or a week before the implementation of the government’s strictest lockdown classification amid the threat of the highly contagious Covid-19 Delta variant.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año discouraged individuals residing in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite to travel to areas outside the bubble as the government seeks to restrict non-essential movement until the capital region reverts to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from 6 to 20 August.

“People should refrain from traveling outside (the bubble) at the present since only authorized persons outside residences were allowed to do such, anyway,” he said.

“Under the existing rules of general community quarantine (GCQ) classification, select economic activities are allowed within NCR Plus, but some of these were not permitted if residents will travel outside the bubble,” Año added.

With the enforcement of tighter boundary controls, the official reminded NCR Plus residents that only medical frontliners, essential workers of select industries, government employees on official travel, and public utility vehicle operators were allowed to cross borders.

Also permitted to travel to and from the bubble were duly-authorized relief and humanitarian assistance actors, persons going to and from the airport, and cargo vessels.

He said individuals who were exempted from restrictions should bring their respective identification cards such as those issued by the pandemic task force, regulatory agencies, and their employers as proof that they could step outside their homes.

Dedicated checkpoints, Año added, were in place for the cargo vessels that bring essential goods into Metro Manila.

Those found to be unauthorized persons outside of their residences would not be allowed to cross borders outside NCR Plus. They would be asked to return to their homes, Año explained.

He said the existing quarantine checkpoints along the borders of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite were manned by the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fire Protection.

The said checkpoints, Año added, would be located inside Metro Manila during the two-week ECQ.

With the enforcement of tighter boundary controls, the official reminded NCR Plus residents that only medical frontliners, essential workers of select industries, government employees on official travel, and public utility vehicle operators were allowed to cross borders.

Placing the capital under the strictest of the four of the government’s community quarantine classifications was meant to delay the spread of Covid-19 and its virulent strain known as Delta.

A week before ECQ or until 5 August, the capital region would be under GCQ with “additional heightened” restrictions.

Meanwhile, local executives in the capital region would also discuss the uniform curfew hours during the implementation of the two-week ECQ, Año said.

More policemen, he added, would be deployed to vaccination sites within Metro Manila to ensure peace and order among jab recipients.

“We will send more cops to vaccination sites, markets, supermarkets, and cash aid distribution centers,” he said.

The government would continue the ongoing Covid-19 inoculations in Metro Manila after mayors had agreed to continue with the 250,000 vaccinations a day despite the lockdown.

The pandemic task force even allocated four million doses of Covid-19 vaccines in Metro Manila, which would be administered during ECQ.
The Philippines has so far confirmed 1.59 million coronavirus infections, in which over 63,000 cases remain active.

@tribunephl_MJB @tribunephl_phau

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