Metro Manila will revert to a relaxed lockdown starting August 19 after being under strict quarantine measures for two weeks.
In a late address to the nation, the Palace confirmed the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) of reverting Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan back to a general community quarantine (GCQ).
These areas were under a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from August 4 to August 18 due to the rise of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases which overwhelmed the healthcare capacities.
Palace Spokesperson Harry L. Roque said, “Kinakailangan buksan po natin ang ekonomiya sabay po ’yung tinatawag nating… ire-refresh natin ’yung mga responses natin sa COVID (We need to open the economy and at the same time do what we call refreshing on our responses on the COVID).”
President Rodrigo R. Duterte told the public, “Just be careful. Follow the safeguards… We want to ensure the safety of our people.”
Other areas under GCQ are Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Quezon in Luzon; Iloilo City, Cebu City, Lapu Lapu City, Mandaue City, Talisay City, the municipalities of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu province for the Visayas. The rest of the Philippines will be under a modified general community quarantine.
With Metro Manila in GCQ, the government said it will improve its mass targeted COVID-19 testing and boost its contact tracing and isolation efforts. — Gillian M. Corte