METRO Manila’s quarantine status will downgrade from enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to the less restrictive modified ECQ (MECQ) beginning August 21 until the end of the month.
Malacañang on Thursday, August 19, announced that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF-EID) to lower the status of the nation’s capital region amid the surge in cases of COVID-19 due to the Delta variant.
Along with Metro Manila, Laguna and Bataan will also be under MECQ until August 31.
“These latest classifications are without prejudice to the strict implementation of granular lockdowns,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
Under MECQ, only essential travel and services are allowed to operate.
“Indoor and al-fresco dine-in services, and personal care services including beauty salons, beauty parlors, barbershops and nail spas shall not be allowed in the NCR, Laguna and Bataan,” Roque said.
“Also, religious gatherings shall remain virtual in the NCR, Bataan and Laguna,” he added.
The spokesman also said that local government units in Metro Manila, Laguna, and Bataan are directed to improve their vaccination rates, Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) strategies, and observance and compliance to minimum public health standards.
“These protocols shall be observed in the aforesaid areas under the inclusive dates they are under MECQ,” added Roque.
For his part, the country’s vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said going back and forth to ECQ is “not sustainable.”
“This MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) will be different. It is more stringent,” he said in a separate statement.
“Hopefully, with strict implementation, our situation will get better. Mahirap ang pabalik-balik tayo sa (It’s hard to always revert to) ECQ. It is not sustainable,” Galvez added.
As of this writing, there are 1,807,800 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, with 31,198 fatalities and 1,653,351 recoveries. n