Palace says return to stricter modified ECQ is Possible

Jun 9, 2020

A cyclist passes a bike lane sign along Commonwealth in Quezon City on June 3, 2020 which marks World Bicycle Day. The STAR/Michael Varcas

Source:, June 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Quarantine measures in Metro Manila may be tightened anew if the number of persons infected with coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 increase, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the quarantine classifications of areas are flexible and may change depending on the data on confirmed COVID-19 cases.

“All the decisions of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases), whether or not to graduate to the next regime, in the case of Metro Manila to MGCQ (modified general community quarantine), is always dependent on data. We will look at the case doubling rate, we will look at the critical care capacity,” Roque said at a press briefing.

“If it (number of infected persons) increases, of course, there is a possibility that we won’t graduate to the next phase…If the trend continues, either we will remain under GCQ (general community quarantine) or we may go back to modified ECQ (enhanced community quarantine),” he added.

Metro Manila, source of more than a third of the country’s gross domestic product and home to more than 12 million people has been under the more lenient GCQ since June 1.

If the capital region shifts to MGCQ, more of its industries would be allowed to resume operations and more people can attend public gatherings. Reverting to the stricter MECQ would mean suspending public transportation anew and reducing the number of establishments that can reopen.

Roque said data on the COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila and Cebu City have to be reviewed “carefully.” IATF members are scheduled to discuss the classification of areas during their meeting today (June 10). Roque said another meeting to be presided by President Rodrigo Duterte would be held in Davao City on Thursday. Changes in the quarantine classifications will take effect on June 16.

Aside from Metro Manila, areas that are now under GCQ are Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and Central Visayas regions, the cities of Baguio, Iloilo, Zamboanga and Davao, and the provinces of Pangasinan and Albay. The rest of the country are now under the most lenient MGCQ, the last classification before the so-called “new normal.”

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