MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has retained the general community quarantine (GCQ) classification in Metro Manila and reverted Cebu City to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until June 30.

In streamed meeting late Monday night, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III announced the new community quarantine classifications based on the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

The IATF’s recommendation to retain, relax, or tighten community quarantines in the country was decided on the basis of case doubling rate of Covid-19 infections and the critical health care capacity.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a statement, confirmed that the IATF recommendation has been approved by the President.

Aside from Metro Manila, other Luzon areas that will be under GCQ are Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Santiago City in Region II; Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Tarlac, Olongapo City in Region III; Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, and Occidental Mindoro in Region IV-A for Luzon.

For the Visayas, Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Mandaue City, Lau-Lapu City in Region VII will be placed under GCQ.

Davao City and Zamboanga City will be the only two areas in Mindanao that will be under GCQ.

Cebu City was “escalated” back to ECQ because of the increasing number of new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases.

“The increasing number of new cases and widespread community transmission in majority of barangays in the city, as well as consistent case doubling time of less than seven days and significant increase in critical care utilization against critical care capacity were the reasons cited why Cebu City reverted back to ECQ,” Roque said.

Talisay City, a component city under the province of Cebu, will be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) for the same reasons.

The rest of the country will remain under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) also until June 30.

Duterte, meanwhile, reminded the public to observe minimum health standards despite relaxed quarantine restrictions such as physical distancing, wearing of face masks, and hand washing.

“We are gradually easing restrictions to make way for our economic viability as individuals and as a nation. But it does not mean that we will forget our minimum health standards,” he said.

Earlier, Duterte warned that the return to a stricter community quarantine is possible in areas with rising number of Covid-19 cases.

The Department of Health (DOH) said it is aiming to test 1.5 percent of the Philippine population for Covid-19 by the end of July.

As of Monday (June 15), there are a total of 26,420 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country, of which 1,098 are deaths and 6,252 are recoveries. (PNA)

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