MANILA — The inter-agency task force leading the country's COVID-19 response said on Friday it raised the quarantine status in Davao City and General Santos City, both in Mindanao, as COVID-19 cases there have surpassed coronavirus infections in Metro Manila.
Davao City will be under modified enhanced community quarantine, the second strictest lockdown level, from June 5 to 20, said IATF and Malacañang spokesman Harry Roque.
Twelve other areas are under MECQ.
Davao City, President Rodrigo Duterte's hometown, was previously under general community quarantine (GCQ), the second loosest of 4 lockdown levels.
General Santos City will be under GCQ from June 5 to 30, Roque said in a statement.
The city was previously under modified GCQ, the least stringent quarantine status.
As of June 2, there were 11,391 active COVID-19 cases in Mindanao, while Metro Manila had 10,174, according to data from the Department of Health.
A spike in new cases observed in Davao City and the Zamboanga region was most likely due to more contagious COVID-19 variants and weak compliance with basic health protocols such as proper wearing of face masks and frequent hand washing, said DOH Epidemiology Bureau Director Dr. Alethea De Guzman.
"Kung pag-uusapan natin 'yung bilis at pagtaas ng kaso, the Mindanao cases as a whole is higher than the cases we are seeing now in Luzon and NCR," she said in an online press conference on Thursday.
(If we are talking about the speed in the rise in cases, the Mindanao cases as a whole is higher than the cases we are seeing now in Luzon and NCR.)