Entire Philippines to remain under quarantine as gov't withdraws decision to remove restrictions in "low-risk" areas
The entire Philippines will remain under quarantine after May 15 as the government has withdrawn its earlier decision to remove the restrictions in some 50 provinces and cities, which were classified as "low-risk" for coronavirus disease transmissions.
In a virtual press briefing on Wednesday, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, under Resolution No. 35, declared some areas that were no longer under quarantine, local chief executives raised concerns.
"Many local chief executives, governors and mayors have come out with petitions, requests. They said that they are not yet ready to be removed from community quarantine," he said.
Año said the IATF would amend Resolution No. 35 which would place the eight regions, including the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, composed of about 40 provinces and 11 cities under "modified general community quarantine."
Under the modified GCQ, he said there would be guidelines for the local chief executives on measures to be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their respective localities.
"Because if there's no more quarantine, there could be a second or third wave (of COVID-19 infections)," the DILG chief said.
"That's why there's no more area in the entire Philippines which are not under community quarantine. There are only various levels. The low-risk will be placed under modified community quarantine and there will be guidelines to be issued and followed by our local government units," he explained.
Under Resolution No. 35, which was made public on Tuesday, the IATF said that the areas, which would no longer be under community quarantine after May 15 due to low-risk of infections were Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan and Dagupan City in Region I; Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Palawan, and Puerto Pricesa City in Region IV-B; Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, Sorsogon, Legazpi City, and Naga City in Region V; Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Iloilo City, and Bacolod City in Region VI;
Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Western Samar, Southern Leyte, Ormoc City, and Tacloban City in Region VIII; Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, and Cagayan de Oro City in Region X; North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, and General Santos City in Region XII; and Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Cotabato City in BARMM.
Other areas in the country, such as Metro Manila, Laguna and Cebu City would be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine starting May 16 until May 30 for still having high-risk of coronavirus infections, while other areas would remain under general community quarantine.
Currently, Metro Manila and some other high-risk places are under enhanced community quarantine and this will prevail until May 15. Celerina Monte/DMS