MANILA, Aug 3 (Mabuhay) –Community pantries are not likely to be allowed when the National Capital Region (NCR) shifts to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) this August, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chair Benhur Abalos said Tuesday.

NCR will be placed under ECQ, the strictest quarantine protocol, from August 6 to 20 to curb COVID-19 transmission amid the threat of the Delta coronavirus variant.

“Ang problema kasi sa pantry, kung pipila ka, baka maging super spreader event. Siguro i-coordinate na lamang para bahay-bahay na lang po ito,” Abalos said during Laging Handa briefing.

“Ang purpose kasi ng ECQ ay huwag lumabas ng bahay. Kung magpapapila po tayo sa labas at magbibigay tayo [ng pagkain], baka magkagulo. Kung gustong tumulong, gumawa tayo ng magandang sistema ay i-deliver na lamang sa bahay-bahay para huwag na lumabas ang mga tao,” he added.

The ECQ protocol only allows essential trips and services to operate. Likewise, only employees working in essential sectors such as food and medicine, among others, are allowed to physically report to work.

The Department of Trade and Industry has said that the 15-day ECQ in NCR would mean 127,000 job losses.

Abalos, a former Mandaluyong City mayor, said that people’s mobility would really have to be reduced during the ECQ period in NCR so that prolonged ECQ won’t be an option.

“We really need to stay home as much as possible so we can starve the virus and prevent transmission,” he said.

The ECQ protocol on Metro Manila was implemented mainly to curb the transmission of the more infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus which can infect five to eight people in one setting.

Community pantries, which distributes free food sourced from donations, on the other hand, gained ground when ECQ was also implemented in NCR last March to address surge of COVID-19 cases at that time. (MNS)

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