By the SovereignPH.com Staff
MANILA – Whether Metro Manila remains under enhanced community quarantine or the more relaxed general community quarantine will be known today, Monday, 11 May 2020, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said over the weekend.
“On Monday, we expect the President’s approval on what will happen to us on May 16,” Roque said at a televised press briefing in relation to what President Duterte might decide on the fate of Metro Manila and other coronavirus high-risk areas still under ECQ.
The Inter-Agency on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is scheduled to meet this morning (Monday) to discuss whether to retain or relax the restrictions in ECQ areas after May 15 and come up with a final recommendation to President Duterte.
The National Capital Region (Metro Manila) is home to more than 12 million people.
It generates more than a third of the country’s gross domestic product and has been under ECQ since March 16 but extended twice with the last supposed to end on May 15.
Aside from NCR other areas still under ECQ are Central Luzon (except Aurora province), Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), Pangasinan, Benguet, Albay, Iloilo including Iloilo City, Cebu including Cebu City, Bacolod City, Zamboanga City and Davao City.
“So it’s not true that all places in Metro Manila will shift to GCQ (general community quarantine) and it’s also not true that the entire Metro Manila will remain under ECQ. Let’s wait… we expect the IATF to have a special meeting in the morning,” the Palace spokesman said.
“In the afternoon, they will submit to the President the recommendation on what will happen to the areas that are still under ECQ,” he added.
Roque also said that under ECQ, only essential businesses and services, including those related to food production and health services, are allowed to operate and public transportation is suspended.
On the other hand, areas under GCQ, selected businesses may reopen but they should observe social distancing and health standards like temperature checks and disinfection of facilities. Some forms of public transportation are also allowed to operate but at reduced capacity.
With the state of economy in mind, the government is leaning toward relaxing quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila areas that have exhibited a slowdown in the growth of coronavirus cases.
“While there is no final decision yet, I can say that the decision on the areas that will remain under ECQ will be gradual and will also be surgical,” Roque said. (ia/SovereignPH.com)