Checkpoint (MNS Photo)

MANILA, Aug 3 (Mabuhay) — The enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila starting August 6 will be stricter compared to its previous implementation, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said Tuesday.

Año said violators of minimum public health standards will be arrested. He also said police personnel will be deployed to areas with crowds and history of violations.

“Mas mahigpit tayo ngayong ECQ na ‘to. Ang tawag nga natin hard lockdown… Kung may makikita diyan [na violator], talagang aarestuhin ng ating mga pulis,” he said.

Año clarified that violators will be accosted first and will only be arrested if they will ignore instructions. Penalties, based on existing ordinances of local government units, will be imposed on violators.

During the ECQ from August 6 to 20, around 4 million vaccines are targeted to be administered in the Nation Capital Region, according to Año.

The capacity of healthcare facilities such as intensive care units and isolation centers will be enhanced to accommodate more patients.

Contract tracing and isolation of COVID-19 cases will be improved during the two-week hard lockdown.

According to Año, the stricter measure seeks to address the threat of the more transmissible Delta coronavirus variant.

Health experts originally suggested up to four weeks of hard lockdown, but due to its anticipated impact on the economy, Año said the government decided to impose it for two weeks only.

After the ECQ period, the government will assess the COVID-19 situation to determine if it will be extended or not.  (MNS)

READ NEXT: ECQ extension in NCR possible, say gov’t officials