MANILA (UPDATE) - Except for Metro Manila and surrounding provinces, most parts of the Philippines will remain under relaxed community quarantine levels until the end of the month even as the number of COVID-19 infections in the country continues to increase.
President Rodrigo Duterte approved to keep the status quo in most parts of the country, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Saturday.
The announcement came as prevailing community quarantine protocols expired in most parts of the country on Saturday, with the exemption of Metro Manila and neighboring provinces Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.
These areas will remain under the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine until August 18.
The following areas will remain under general community quarantine until Aug. 31:
- Nueva Ecija
- Iloilo City
- Cebu City
- Lapu-Lapu City
- Mandaue City
- Talisay City
- Minglanilla, Cebu
- Consolacion, Cebu
The rest of the Philippines, meanwhile, will stay under modified general community quarantine, Roque said.
"The rest of the country are placed under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), with some provinces, highly urbanized cities and independent component cities with strict enforcement of local action," he said.
Most industries are allowed to operate in the two quarantine classifications albeit at varying levels.
Roque said localized lockdowns would, meanwhile, continue in areas where infection spikes are detected.
"Even areas under GCQ and MGCQ magkakaroon pa rin po tayo ng localized ECQ, so wala po talagang katapusan ang ECQ dahil ang ECQ ngayon localized o granular," he said in a televised briefing early Saturday.
(Even in areas under GCQ and MGCQ we will have localized ECQ, so there is no lend to ECQ because this is now localized or granular.)
He said government would be looking for clusters of infection in enforcing localized lockdowns, so that strict quarantine won't have to be enforced in entire cities or provinces.
"Kung nasasaan sila 'yan po talaga ilo-lockdown, hindi nga lang po ung buong siyudad, buong probinsiya kundi 'yung lugar kung nasaan po nararoroon ang clusters," he said.
(Where the clusters are, that's where the lockdown will take effect, not the entire city or province.)
Enforcement of minimum public health standards will remain, including the use of face masks, wearing face shields in public transport, physical distancing, and strengthened isolation of confirmed cases, Roque said.
President Duterte, meanwhile, is expected to announce the quarantine classification for Metro Manila and nearby Luzon provinces on Monday.