Palace: Metro Manila to be placed under ECQ from August 6 to 20

File photo: A barangay police officer stands guard over one of the communities in Pasay City placed on “special lockdown” due to the high incidence of coronavirus cases in the area.

Prompted by a rise in new Covid-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR), President Duterte decided to place the metropolis under lockdown next week.  

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque revealed that the President has approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to impose enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in NCR from Aug. 6 to 20, 2021 in a bid to contain an upward trend of virus infection in NCR.  

The announcement came a day after the IATF announced the extension of the general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions” classification of NCR until August 15, 2021. 

Roque said there were “long debates” among IATF members before they decided to reconsider their initial decision and push for a lockdown in NCR instead.  

Preparations

In preparation for the ECQ, the government started implementing stricter quarantine measures in NCR from July 30 to Aug. 5, 2021.  

These measures include banning indoor dine-in services and al fresco dining and the operation of indoor sports courts and venues and indoor tourist attractions and specialized markets of the Department of Tourism (DOT). 

The government also capped to 30 percent the venue capacity of personal care services, such as beauty salons and parlors, barber shops and nail spas and outdoor tourist attractions as defined by DOT. 

A week before the ECQ, Roque said, “only authorized persons outside their residences (APOR) shall be allowed to travel into and out of the NCR Plus Area, which includes Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, and Rizal.”   

Public transportation would still be allowed to operate in the said period along with the government’s vaccination administration activities.   

Roque said live religious gatherings will no longer be allowed, but “gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment and funerals for those who died of causes other than Covid-19 shall be allowed, provided they are limited to immediate family members.”  

The OCTA research group has recommended the implementation of a two-week lockdown in NCR amid rising Covid-19 cases.  

The research group suspected the presence of the more contagious Delta variant of Covid-causing severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is contributing to the rising increase in infections in the region similar to what happened in other countries like India and Indonesia.  

The Delta variant is more infectious and fatal compared to other variants of the SARS-CoV-2.   

Meanwhile, the business groups Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) issued a statement on Friday welcoming the move:

FINEX Statement on the 2-week ECQ

We in the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) welcome the 2-week ECQ as a pre-emptive move against the surge of COVID-19 cases that will wreak more havoc to the economy and our people. Short-term sacrifice for long-term gain, so to speak.

Having said that, we strongly urge that the importation of more vaccines be treated with urgency and that an aggressive and efficient vaccination program and effective contact tracing be given heightened attention especially in areas that substantially contribute to our economy.

We urge our members to leave no stone unturned in taking care of their employees during the ECQ period as they graciously did in the early part of the pandemic.

We strongly urge our countrymen to do their part by availing of the opportunity to get vaccinated and adhering to the health protocols for their own good and that of their families and the country in general.

ATTY. FRANCISCO ED. LIM

FINEX President

Image credits: Jimbo Albano



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