This week, the Philippines finally ended one of the world’s longest lockdowns. Different parts of the country have transitioned to lower levels of quarantine to revitalize an uncertain economy and allow more people to go back to work.
4 Levels of Community Quarantine in the Philippines
Currently, there are four levels of quarantine in the country, with the Enhanced Community Quarantine having the strictest measures.
- Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) for high-risk areas
- Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) for moderate- to high-risk areas
- General Community Quarantine (GCQ) for moderate- to low-risk areas
- Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) proposed status for low-risk areas
Depending on the risk of community transmission, areas will transition from the ECQ down to lower levels of quarantine. These levels are determined by the government based on the advice of the Department of Health.
But what does this mean in practice?
IATF Guidelines on Implementing the Community Quarantine
Here’s an overview of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) general guidelines on what is allowed under each quarantine level.
1. Movement During the Community Quarantine
All frontliners and essential workers are allowed to travel, including health and emergency frontline service workers, government officials and frontline personnel, authorized humanitarian workers, and other authorized persons
ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ
High-risk individuals like the youth (below 21 years old), elderly (above 60 years old), pregnant women, immunocompromised, etc., should stay at home. Exception: persons in this category who need to access essential goods or who work in allowed sectors may go outside.
People may move between GCQ areas and MGCQ areas except for leisure. However, movement to and from stricter quarantine levels is not allowed.
2. Public Transportation During the Community Quarantine
Movement of cargo is allowed at all quarantine levels, but only a maximum of five people may operate a cargo vehicle.
ECQ and MECQ
All public transportation is suspended.
Public transportation may operate at reduced capacity. Passengers should also observe social distancing (minimum of 1 meter).
Public transportation may operate as long as a one-meter distance between passengers is observed.
3. Work and Commerce During the Community Quarantine
The number of sectors allowed to operate increases as an area moves from one quarantine level to the lower quarantine levels: ECQ to MECQ to GCQ to MGCQ. Similarly, the number of commercial establishments allowed to open will also increase as quarantine levels downgrade.
Sounds complicated? Rest assured that the goal is to usher the country into the New Normal – the emerging practices and standards that will remain in place until COVID-19 has been eradicated by widespread immunization. Keep in mind that the Department of Health has set guidelines in Administrative Order 2020-0015 that must be observed under all quarantine levels.
Stay safe during the pandemic! As much as possible, stay indoors and keep your home virus-free.
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