MANILA - The government believes the 2-week implementation of stricter quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces will result in at least a 25-percent drop in COVID-19 cases, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said Monday.
The National Capital Region and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal were placed under general community quarantine--the second loosest level--with additional specific restrictions from March 22 until April 4 due to a surge in coronavirus infections. The bubble was termed "NCR plus" for brevity, said Roque.
"We’re estimating that with these measures and at the end of the 2-week period, that the numbers would drop by at least 25%, but we’re hoping for more," Roque told ANC's Headstart.
He also appealed to the public to stay home "if they are not going out because of an essential activity," especially during the long holiday for the upcoming Holy Week.
"We all know that the tried and tested formula for preventing the further increase in cases of COVID is to stay home," he said.
The resolution of the inter-agency task force on COVID-19 published Sunday said only essential travel into and out of the bubble will be allowed, although public transportation will remain operational at previously approved capacities.
Mass gatherings, including those for religious purposes, were prohibited, while weddings, baptisms, and funeral services were limited to only 10 persons.
Workplaces were also asked to limit their on-site capacity to 30 to 50 percent, similar to the arrangements implemented in government offices.
Restaurants were also limited to takeout, delivery and al fresco dining with provisions for administrative controls.
The resolution also underscored that visiting persons outside their immediate family is discouraged and wearing of masks for the elderly and vulnerable even at home is strongly advised.
The new guidelines were issued in light of the spike in COVID-19 cases, with 7,757 new infections reported on Sunday. It was the third straight day of more than 7,000 addition to the country's cumulative count.
There are now 663,794 total cases in the Philippines, of which, 73,072 are active. There were also 12,968 fatalities and 577,754 recoveries.