MANILA (UPDATED) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday kept Metro Manila and his hometown Davao City in the south under general community quarantine until the end of the year to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The following areas will be under GCQ from Dec. 1 to 31, Duterte said in his weekly address on the pandemic.
- Metro Manila
- Iloilo City
- Tacloban City
- Lanao del Sur
- Iligan City
- Davao City
Davao del Norte will also be under GCQ from Dec. 1, said Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque. The province was not included in the areas that the President mentioned in his televised speech.
The rest of the country will be under modified GCQ, which has the least restrictive measures in the country's four-level lockdown system, said Duterte.
Mayors in Metro Manila earlier recommended that the region stay under GCQ status, said National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.
Looser restrictions will result to higher contact among people, which could spur COVID-19 spread, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said earlier in the day.
"Kung dumami ang bilang ng kaso ay posibleng mapuno na naman, ma-overwhelm ang ating systems capacity. At ‘pag na-overwhelm iyan, malaking problema," he said in a televised public briefing.
(If the cases increase, our systems capacity might be full, overwhelmed again. And if that is overwhelmed, it will be a big problem.)
Only select businesses are allowed to operate at full capacity in GCQ areas.
Duterte placed Davao City under GCQ last Nov. 20 due to an uptick in coronavirus cases.
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.
The Philippines has tallied 431,630 coronavirus infections, as of Monday. 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.