MANILA - (UPDATE) Metro Manila mayors want to see a continuous decline in the number of COVID-19 cases before seeking a shift to the lowest quarantine level, the chief executive of San Juan City said on Tuesday.
The capital region will remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) for another month after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) extended its current status until October 31.
While under GCQ, Metro Manila has seen a "sharp decline" in numbers of positive cases "even if businesses are reopening, even if a lot of people are out already," said San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora.
"I believe what the Metro mayors want to see is a stable decline in the numbers so that if and when we see that indeed the numbers continue to go down, then we can now reallow some industries or businesses to reopen," he told ANC's Headstart.
Zamora said the mayors are "being very careful" to avoid an uptick in the number of active cases, such as what happened when Metro Manila shifted from the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to a modified ECQ and then to the current GCQ.
"We are seeing that the interventions that we in Metro Manila are doing, they are working...We felt this is not the right time to shift," he said.
After meeting with Cabinet officials who are part of the IATF, the mayors were given "a certain level of discretion" on the capacity by which certain establishments may operate, but the restrictions imposed in GCQ areas remain.
"This gives us a lot of flexibility without having to shift to MGCQ," said Zamora.
As of September 29, the country has 307,288 total confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 49,242 still active. Of the 3,073 additional cases reported Monday, 1,158 were from Metro Manila.
Zamora said while there is a "steady decline" in numbers in his city, "this is not the time to relax, this is not the time to be complacent."
"Going out means a lot of discipline within ourselves to ensure that we do not get sick and we do not infect others also who may be waiting for us at home," he said.