President Rodrigo Duterte has extended anew the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and other select areas that are considered high risk for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
In a recorded public address aired April 24, 2020 on state-run PTV-4, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to extend ECQ until May 15 in areas with high cases of Covid-19 to effectively stop the contagion.
Roque said ECQ would be maintained in Metro Manila, Benguet, Pangasinan, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, Quezon, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Albay, and Catanduanes, Davao del Norte, and Davao City.
“Magkakaroon ng re-evaluation pagdating ng May 16 (There will be re-evaluation on May 16),” he said.
Roque said the proposed extension of ECQ in Antique, Iloilo, Cebu, and Cebu City are “subject to re-checking.”
“Ang lahat po ng probinsya na hindi kasama dito sa mananatili ang ECQ ay mapapasailalim sa new normal na tinatawag na general community quarantine (All provinces where ECQ will not be imposed have to undergo the new normal or the so-called general community quarantine),” he said.
The ECQ was initially enforced in the whole island of Luzon to arrest the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
Luzon-wide ECQ was supposed to end on April 12 but was extended until April 30.
Duterte consulted medical experts, former heath secretaries, and members of IATF-EID this week regarding possible measures that might be implemented after April 30.
The health experts recommended to extend ECQ in Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and parts of Bulacan and ease restrictions in areas with few or zero Covid-19 cases.
A Palace memorandum also inked in March also allows Duterte to declare either a “general” or “enhanced” community quarantine in the country to address the rise in confirmed cases of Covid-19.
Under the memorandum, a “general” community quarantine (GCQ) limits people’s movements to accessing basic necessities and work and directs uniformed personnel and quarantine personnel to be present at border points.
Meanwhile, an “enhanced” community quarantine requires strict home quarantine in all households, suspension of transportation, regulation of food and essential health services, and heightened presence of uniformed personnel enforcing quarantine protocols.
Roque said the government is still evaluating whether ECQ or GCQ will be imposed in Abra, Ilocos Norte, La Union, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Marinduque, Camarines Sur, Aklan, Capiz, Samar, Western Samar, Zamboanga del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, and Maguindanao.
“Mag-evaluate po kung ano pa ang mangyayari sa mga lugar na ito kung magkakaroon ng general community quarantine o mananatili ang ECQ (There will be an evaluation if these areas should be placed under general community quarantine or ECQ),” he said.
Roque said areas with “low” or “moderate” risk for Covid-19, such as Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Sultan Kudarat at Lanao del Sur, will be placed under GCQ.
Other low-risk areas that will be put under GCQ are Apayao, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Kalinga, Ilocos Sur, Batanes, Quirino, Aurora, Palawan, Romblon, Camarines Norte, Sorsogon, Masbate, Guimaras, Bohol, Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, and Southern Leyte, Roque said.
He added that Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Davao Occidental, Saranggani, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Basilan at Sulu will also be placed under GCQ.
In his public address, Duterte reiterated his appeal to the public to help the government in its fight against Covid-19.
“We are all at risk but do not increase the chances of getting it,” he said.
The Philippines has recorded 6,981 Covid-19 infections, with 462 deaths and 722 recoveries.
In March, Duterte signed Proclamations 922 and 929, placing the entire country under a state of public health emergency and a state of calamity due to Covid-19 outbreak. (PNA)