MANILA — Mayors of Metro Manila want the COVID-19 lockdown over the region's 12 million people to remain enforced through the holidays, an official leading the country's pandemic response said Thursday.
The local chief executives are "very cautious" about downgrading the region's current general community quarantine (GCQ) status, the 3rd strictest of 4 lockdown levels, said National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.
"Ang recommendation po nila, just in case magkaroon ng easing of restriction, maybe next year, after the holidays," he told reporters.
(Their recommendation is that just in case there is an easing of restriction, maybe it should be done next year, after the holidays.)
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President Rodrigo Duterte on Nov. 30 will address the public and announce quarantine classifications for December, his spokesman Harry Roque said in the same press briefing.
Metro Manila, which accounts for about a third of the country's gross domestic product, has been under GCQ since August, with stricter lockdowns enforced in earlier months as COVID-19 infections rose. Only select businesses are allowed to operate at full capacity in GCQ areas.
The Philippines has tallied 422,915 coronavirus infections, as of Wednesday. The unabated first wave of infections has prevented the economy from fully reopening.
The World Health Organization said Monday that avoiding family gatherings would be "the safest bet" over Christmas, insisting there is no zero-risk option for traditional holiday merry-making during the coronavirus pandemic.