MANILA – The possibility of placing the National Capital Region (NCR) from the general community quarantine (GCQ) to the more relaxed modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) will depend on the trend of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the region, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Tuesday.

“Sa akin, 50-50 pa rin yan (50 percent yes, 50 percent no), may possibility kaya lang kasi kailangan makita muna namin ‘yung data, bukas merong presentation ng data analytics, although tumataas pa ‘yung numero pero kaya naman. Ibig sabihin, within the limit naman siya kasi ‘yung mga hospital natin maluwag, walang napupuno (For me it’s still a 50-50 chance, there is a possibility but we need to see the data and tomorrow (Wednesday), there is a presentation of data analytics. Although there is an increase in the number of cases, it remains manageable. It is still within the limit because our hospitals have enough capacity and they are not full),” Año told reporters in a phone interview.

Aside from Metro Manila, he said they are also keeping a close watch on the situation in Cebu and Davao.

Año said the deaths from Covid-19 are averaging from eight to 13 per day.

He, however, said downgrading Metro Manila’s quarantine status to MGCQ is “dangerous” as transportation and businesses would be opened up to 75 percent capacity.

“’Yun ang nakakatakot diyan, kasi pagka nagkaroon ka ng MGCQ bubuksan mo na lahat ng transportation, lahat ng businesses i-open mo na, although 75 percent ‘yung workforce nyan pero bubuksan mo na lahat yan, kumbaga ang maiiwan na lang dyan ay yung mga hindi papayagan such as gaming, leisure, so kailangan talaga dyan, careful study talaga (That’s scary, because if you are now under MGCQ, you would open up all the transportation, all the businesses will open but that will require 75 percent of their workforce. Only those that are not allowed to operate like gaming and leisure industries will remain closed. It is necessary that we study it carefully),” he added.

During the upcoming meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), members are expected to discuss the possible transition of areas under GCQ to MGCQ and areas under MGCQ to the new normal.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the decision to ease quarantine protocols will depend on the rate of Covid-19 infection and the health system’s capacity to provide critical care for patients.

Pangasinan, Albay, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Metro Manila, Central Visayas, Zamboanga City, Davao City, Cebu City and Mandaue City are under GCQ from June 1 to 15 while the rest of the country is under MGCQ.

Año said that while the IATF-EID has given local government units the authority to impose localized lockdowns, they should implement strategies to contain the disease in the lockdown areas and provide aid to alleviate the conditions of those affected. (PNA)