MANILA—The COVID-19 lockdown of Laguna, Cagayan De Oro, and Iloilo City will be lowered starting next week, Malacañang said on Friday, as authorities battled a spike in coronavirus infections linked to the highly contagious Delta variant.
The 3 areas are under the strictest of 4 lockdown levels, or enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), until Aug. 15.
President Rodrigo Duterte approved the 3 areas' shift to modified ECQ, the second toughest lockdown level, from Aug. 16, Monday, until Aug. 31, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said.
Metro Manila remains under ECQ until Aug. 20, while Bataan is under the same lockdown level until Aug. 22, added Roque, who is also spokesperson for the inter-agency task force on COVID-19.
The following areas will also be under MECQ from Aug. 16 to 31, Roque said in a statement.
- Cebu City
- Ilocos Norte
- Iloilo Province
- Lapu-Lapu City
- Lucena City
- Mandaue City
Meanwhile, the following areas were placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions from Aug. 16 to 31, said the Palace spokesman.
- Luzon: Ilocos Sur; Cagayan; Quezon and Batangas in Calabarzon; and Naga City
- Visayas: Antique, Bacolod City and Capiz in Region 6; and Negros Oriental and Cebu
- Mindanao: Zamboanga del Sur; Misamis Oriental; Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao Occidental, Davao de Oro, and Butuan City
Tarlac will be placed under GCQ beginning Aug. 13 until the end of the month, Roque said.
He said the following areas will also be under GCQ from Aug. 16 to 31.
- Luzon: Baguio City in the Cordillera Administrative Region
- Santiago City, Quirino, Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya in Region 2
- Puerto Princesa in Region 4-B
- Guimaras and Negros Occidental in Region 6
- Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga City and Zamboanga del Norte in Region 9
- Davao Oriental and Davao del Sur in Region 11
- General Santos City, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and South Cotabato in Region 12
- Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Dinagat Islands in CARAGA
- Cotabato City in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
All other areas shall be placed under the loosest quarantine level, modified GCQ from Aug. 16 to 31, Roque said.
The Philippines is battling one of Asia's worst coronavirus outbreaks. On Thursday, the health department confirmed 12,439 more COVID-19 cases, the highest daily tally in more than 4 months, which pushed the total infections in the country to over 1.7 million.
The agency also announced 177 additional COVID-19 Delta variant carriers, which is at least 60 percent more virulent than the original strain first detected in Wuhan, China in late 2019.
The country's total known Delta cases stood at 627, only 13 of which were active, the health department said on Thursday.
At least 12 million people are now fully vaccinated out of the government's target of immunizing up to 70 million individuals this year to achieve herd immunity and safely reopen the economy.