Metro Manila, 4 nearby provinces back to GCQ - Duterte
President Rodrigo Duterte decided on Monday night to revert Metro Manila and the four nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal to general community quarantine starting August 19 until August 31 even if cases of coronavirus continue to increase.
Duterte made the announcement in Davao City after his virtual meeting with some members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the decision was reached based on the recommendation of the IATF.
Under GCQ, he said more industries, including dine-in restaurants, are allowed to operate.
He also said that religious services are also allowed but up to 30 percent of the venue's capacity.
"Almost all the industries are allowed to open, except those where many people gather, entertainment and amusement for the kids," said Roque, also spokesperson of the IATF.
"We need to open the economy simultaneously with what we call as refresh, we will refresh the responses against COVID," he said.
In Metro Manila where cases of coronavirus is high, he said the government will conduct intensified testing, tracing and treatment.
He cited the pooled testing to be done in Makati City where more individuals could be tested.
He also said that under the heightened contact tracing, the ratio will be one tracer per 15 individuals and it will be done house to house to isolate symptomatic persons.
More isolation facilities will also be constructed, he added.
The Palace official also reiterated the call for the people to follow the health protocols, such as the wearing of masks, including face shields when using public transportation, washing of hands, and social distancing, among others.
The National Capital Region and the four other provinces have been placed under modified enhanced community quarantine, a stricter quarantine classification, from August 4 to 18 following the call of medical societies for a "timeout" after months that hospitals have been overwhelmed by coronavirus patients.
Earlier, the IATF has also placed Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Quezon, Iloilo City, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Talisay City, and the municipalities of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu province under GCQ until the end of the month.
The rest of the country are placed under less restrictive quarantine protocols or modified general community quarantine.
As of August 17, the Department of Health said that COVID-19 cases rose to 164,474, with 112,759 recoveries and 2,681 deaths. Celerina Monte/DMS