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Palace: High-risk Covid-19 areas in Metro Manila to remain under ECQ

By Catherine S. Valente, TMT/The Manila Times

ONLY in areas with “high risk” of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) spread will the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) continue, Malacañang said on Saturday.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. made the statement, as he dismissed as “fake news” rumors about the supposed extension of ECQ after May 15.

Roque said while the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has yet to make a final recommendation to President Rodrigo Duterte, it seeks the implementation of the general community quarantine (GCQ) in areas in Metro Manila that have low cases of Covid-19.

“Bagama’t wala pa ng pinal na desisyon, ang desisyon kung ano yung mga lugar na mananatili sa ECQ will be granular na tinatawag at it will also be surgical (While there’s no final decision, the decision on areas where ECQ should remain will be granular and surgical),” Roque during a virtual press briefing.

“So hindi po totoo na lahat ng lugar sa Metro Manila ay maggi-GCQ na at hindi naman totoo na ang buong Metro Manila ay mananatili sa ECQ (So it’s not true that all areas in Metro Manila will either be under GCQ and ECQ),” he added.

Roque made the statement while the Metro Manila Council (MMC) is about to make a formal recommendation for another 15-day extension of the ECQ in Metro Manila.

He said the recommendation of the Metro Manila mayors would be considered.

The MMC, composed of 17 mayors in NCR, is considering to extend ECQ until May 30 to allow their health departments to conduct mass testing.

The President signed Executive Order 112 imposingHigh-risk Covid-19 ECQ in Metro Manila and several other highrisk areas in the country until midMay.

The ECQ regulations, including home quarantine except for essential activities, suspension of public transportation and school classes, and ban on large gatherings, have displaced more than two million workers as a result of temporary closure or scaled down operations of companies.

A more relaxed GCQ, on the other hand, is in effect in several areas with low and moderate risk of the coronavirus spread.

The government has allowed public transportation to resume operations at reduced capacity as well as several businesses and services to reopen subject to health protocols.

Roque said areas with low Covid-19 infections could now be placed under GCQ or the so-called “new normal.”


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