Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. (File photo)

MANILA – Malacañang on Wednesday raised the likelihood of placing Metro Manila under a stricter community quarantine after July 31.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque was not discounting the possibility that Metro Manila might be under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), the second-highest quarantine classification if coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the country’s metropolis continue to spike.

“Yes, a reversion to MECQ or a more stringent quarantine is possible. I hope it will not happen though,” Roque said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

President Rodrigo Duterte was supposed to place Metro Manila under MECQ from July 16 to 31 but decided to retain the general community quarantine (GCQ) classification, a more relaxed community quarantine, in the area.

As of Tuesday, around 38,248 Covid-19 infections have been recorded in Metro Manila, according to the Department of Health’s Covid-19 tracker.

There are still 24, 244 active Covid-19 cases in Metro Manila, the tracker revealed.

Around 13,037 people have already recovered from the disease, while some 967 Covid-19 patients in the country’s metropolis have died.

Roque remained optimistic that a stricter community quarantine would not be imposed in Metro Manila after July 31.

“That’s a distinct possibility [that a more stringent quarantine might be imposed] although a possibility that I wish would not happen because we all know that while we have to contain the disease, we also need to restart our livelihoods,” he said.

Roque made the remarks as he admitted that another economic recession in Metro Manila, in case MECQ or a stricter quarantine classification is implemented, would be a big problem.

“We come to a very crucial point where I think the economy can no longer afford a shutdown anew,” he said.

On July 16, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases ordered the reclassification of several business industries in the country to revive the economy in Metro Manila and Calabarzon.

Roque expressed hope that Filipinos would cooperate to avoid the possibility of imposing a more stringent community quarantine in Metro Manila.

He was confident that Filipinos would take part in the country’s fight against Covid-19 by continuing heeding the quarantine and health protocols imposed by the government to contain the disease.

“I’m confident the Filipinos actually will cooperate to an even greater degree than they have shown,” Roque said. “The Filipinos will cooperate when they have to. And I think the message has been well-received by Filipinos that we need to take care of our health so that we can proceed and pursue a livelihood anew.” (PNA)