(MNS Photo)

MANILA, July 30 (Mabuhay) —  Metro Manila will be placed under the most restrictive enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to 20, Malacañang said on Friday.

This, after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF-EID) recommendation to impose the strict quarantine classification in Metro Manila.

In an announcement aired over state-run PTV-4, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Metro Manila will stay under general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions” from July 30 to August 5 and will shift to ECQ from August 6 to 20.

“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 have spent so much time to debate on the proposal [to place Metro Manila under ECQ]),” Roque said.

Metro Manila is currently under GCQ with heightened restrictions. Its quarantine status was supposed to be extended until August 15.

However, Metro Manila mayors have urged the IATF-EID to implement a two-week ECQ in the country’s metropolis to prevent the spread of the more infectious Delta coronavirus variant.

More restrictions

Roque said “additional restrictions” would be imposed in Metro Manila from July 30 to August 5.

“The heightened restrictions for NCR are more stringent compared to the GCQ with heightened restrictions of other areas,” he said in a press statement.

Roque said indoor dine-in services and al fresco dining are prohibited and only take-out and delivery are allowed in Metro Manila.

“For people working in these establishments, operations are allowed to continue and finish within the day,” he said.

Personal care personal care services like beauty salons, beauty parlors, barber shops and nail spas may operate up to 30 percent of venue or seating capacity, Roque said.

He added that indoor sports courts and venues and indoor tourist attractions and specialized markets of the Department of Tourism (DOT) may not operate, while outdoor tourist attractions, as may be defined by the DOT, will be allowed at 30 percent venue capacity.

Roque said only Authorized Persons Outside their Residences will be allowed to travel “into and out” of NCR Plus, which is composed of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.

Only virtual religious gatherings shall be allowed. Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment and funerals for those who died of causes other than Covid-19 shall be allowed, provided they are limited to immediate family members, he said.

Avoid panic buying

Following the government’s decision to implement ECQ in Metro Manila from August 6 to 20, Roque reminded the public not to resort to panic buying.

“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.

Apart from Metro Manila, Iloilo province and its city, Cagayan de Oro City, and the City of Gingoog in Misamis Oriental have also been placed under ECQ from July 21 to August 7.

On Tuesday, Roque announced that individuals residing in Iloilo province and its city, as well as the cities of Cagayan de Oro City and Gingoog, will receive cash assistance worth PHP1,000 per individual or PHP4,000 per family.

When quizzed if Metro Manila residents would also be given financial aid, Roque said: “Most likely but will seek confirmation.”

Cebu province, city under MECQ

Meantime, Roque also announced that the quarantine classification in Cebu province and its city have been upgraded to modified ECQ (MECQ).

“Cebu City and Cebu Province have been added to areas under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) starting August 1 until August 15, 2021, subject to further appeals by their local government units,” he said.

The MECQ status in the provinces of Ilocos Norte and Bataan and the cities of Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue from August 1 to 15 will be retained, Roque said.

Other quarantine classifications

Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Ilocos Sur, Cagayan, Lucena City, Naga City, Aklan, Bacolod City, Capiz, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, Davao Occidental, and Butuan City will remain under GCQ with heightened restrictions from August 1 to 15.

On the other hand, the GCQ classification without restrictions will be imposed in Baguio City, Apayao, City of Santiago, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Quezon, Batangas, Puerto Princesa, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Zamboanga Sibugay, City of Zamboanga, Zamboanga del Norte, Davao Oriental, and Davao del Sur from August 1 to 31.

General Santos City, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Sur, and Cotabato City in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will also be put under regular GCQ for the entire month of August, he said.

The rest of the country will stay under MGCQ next month. (MNS)

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