Metro Manila, surrounding areas to revert to enhanced community quarantine on Aug. 6

VACCINATION QUEUE. Residents of Dasmariñas City line up for the COVID-19 vaccine at the ground floor of Central Mall, Barangay Salitran II, Dasmariñas City, Cavite on Thursday, July 29. The government aims to inoculate up to 70 million Filipinos this year to achieve population protection against COVID-19. PNA photo by Gil Calinga

METRO Manila will go back to the most restrictive enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) on August 6 to curb the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19, according to Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday, July 30, 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 place Metro Manila under ECQ from August 6 to 20.

“Simula naman a sais ng Agusto, ang NCR ay ma-eescalate sa enhanced community quarantine or ECQ hanggang a bente ng Agusto 2021 (Starting August 6, NCR will escalate to enhanced community quarantine or ECQ until August 20, 2021),” he said in an announcement aired over state-run People’s Television Network.

“Hindi po naging madali ang desisyon na ito. Maraming oras ang ginugol para pagdebatehan ang bagay na ito (It is not an easy decision. We spent so much time debating on the proposal),” he added.

Under ECQ, hospitals, groceries, courier and delivery services, certain manufacturing firms, business process outsourcing will remain fully operational.

Meanwhile, banks, medical clinics, telecommunications, power and energy, internet services, water and sanitation services, and certain legal services can operate with a skeletal workforce.

Public transportation, on the other hand, will be suspended.

Heightened restrictions

In the meantime, Metro Manila will remain under the general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened and additional restrictions” from July 30 to Aug. 5.

“The heightened restrictions for NCR are more stringent compared to the GCQ with heightened restrictions of other areas,” said Roque.

Under the stricter GCQ, only Authorized Persons Outside their Residences will be allowed to travel “in and out” of NCR Plus (Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal).

Only take-out and delivery will be allowed as indoor dine-in services and al fresco dining will be prohibited.

Personal care services such as beauty salons, beauty parlors, barber shops and nail spas may operate up to 30% of venue or seating capacity.

Indoor sports courts and venues and indoor tourist attractions and specialized markets of the Department of Tourism may not operate. Outdoor tourist attractions, as may be defined by the DOT, will be allowed at 30% venue capacity.

Roque reminded the public not to resort to panic buying following the new quarantine status.

“Meron naman tayong isang linggo para mag-prepara dito sa two weeks na ECQ. Wala pong dahilan para mag panic buying dahil maski ECQ po, bukas naman po ang ating mga groceries (We still have one week to prepare for the two-week implementation of ECQ. There’s no reason for panic buying because, despite the ECQ implementation, groceries are still open),” he said.

As of this writing, the country has a total of 216 Delta variant related cases, with eight fatalities. n

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