MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said majority of the Philippines will be under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) for the whole month of April.
In a televised address, Duterte said the rest of the country will be under MGCQ from April 1 to 30, except for several areas.
Quirino will be under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from April 1 to 15, while the City of Santiago in Isabela will be under MECQ from April 1 to 30.
The following areas will be under general community quarantine:
- Cordillera Administrative Region
- Nueva Vizcaya
- Tacloban City
- Iligan City
- Davao City
- Lanao del Sur.
The capital region and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal—which government collectively calls NCR Plus— is currently under enhanced community quarantine, the strictest lockdown classification, until April 4, subject to further review.
Duterte has yet to announce what will happen to the NCR Plus area by April 5.
The Philippines' health department on Monday recorded 10,016 new coronavirus infections, the country's highest since the pandemic reached the country early last year.
In a bulletin, the agency said total confirmed cases had increased to 731,894, of which, 115,495 are active, while confirmed deaths reached 13,186.
Most of the new cases are in the congested capital region, a conglomeration of 16 cities and a municipality. Hospitals' intensive care and isolation bed capacity have reached critical levels, government data showed.
ECQ reduces businesses that can operate at full capacity, and limits the capacity of public transport.
The health department's Epidemiology Bureau chief Dr. Alethea De Guzman said that while the original week-long ECQ could slightly reduce infections, she said, "Posible pong tumaas na naman ang dami ng kaso natin pagkatapos na ma-lift ng ECQ.
"Isa sa mga nirerekomenda nating eksperto, baka kinakailangan i-extend," she said in a press briefing.
(The number of our cases could increase again once ECQ is lifted. One recommendation of our experts is that we might need to extend this.)
However, lockdowns have taken a huge toll on the Philippine economy, which contracted by a record 9.5 percent last year.
The National Economic and Development Authority said tighter curbs would worsen hunger and unemployment.
— With a report from Reuters