Written by: Rita Magallona
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced last April 24 that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has extended the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and other high-risk areas to May 15. The quarantine was supposed to end by April 30, but current trends point to the necessity for an extension.
During a noontime announcement on April 28, 2020, Roque said that the provinces that are considered high risk and will also be under extended ECQ are:
- National Capital Region (NCR)
- Region III (Central Luzon) except Aurora
- Region IV-A (CALABARZON)
- The province of Pangasinan
- The province of Benguet
- Baguio City
- The province of Iloilo
- The province of Cebu
- Cebu City
- Davao City
General Community Quarantine
However, according to acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, the provinces of Tarlac, Pangasinan, Zambales, and Benguet will be re-evaluated by April 30 to determine if they will also go on extended ECQ or will be downgraded to a less-strict general community quarantine (GCQ).
Under the GCQ, the following guidelines will be enforced:
- Certain workers and sectors may continue to work or operate in phases
- People may go out of their homes only to buy basic necessities
- Children aged below 21 and the elderly aged 60 and above will still need to stay home. The same applies to those who reside with people who have co-morbidities or other risk factors, regardless of age
- Non-leisure stores in malls and shopping centers may partially open
- Higher education institutions may continue classes to finish the academic year and issue credentials to students following the guidelines to be issued by the Commission on Higher Education
- Priority and essential construction projects may resume, following the guidelines to be issued by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)
- Public transportation may operate at a reduced capacity, following the guidelines to be issued by the Department of Transportation (DOTr)
- Curfews at night for non-workers will still be enforced by local government units
- Airports and seaports may operate to facilitate the movement of goods
Roque said that all areas with low and moderate risks will be under GCQ until May 15. He added, “If there is no deterioration, GCQ will be relaxed leading to normalization.”
However, the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Cebu, Davao, Davao del Norte, and Iloilo will have to be rechecked.
This extension would be the second since the Luzon-wide ECQ was declared on March 16, 2020. The ECQ was originally scheduled to end on April 12 but was later extended to April 30.
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