The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on May 13, 2020, amended a guideline in its resolution No. 35 lifting the community quarantine (CQ) in areas with low risk of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) infection by May 16.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the IATF decided to amend the guideline after local officials explained in petitions that they are not ready to end the CQ in their respective provinces and cities.
To accommodate their request, he said the IATF will place areas with low risk of infection under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) instead of completely lifting the community quarantine.
“Magkakaroon po tayo ng amendment na pagtitibayin mamaya sa ating IATF meeting upang ang eight regions, 37 provinces, 11 cities, at kasama na po yung BARMM malalagay sila sa modified general community quarantine (There will be an amendment that will be strengthened during the IATF meeting later to place the eight regions, 37 provinces and 11 cities, including BARRM under a modified general community quarantine),” he said in a virtual press briefing in Malacañang.
On Tuesday, the IATF resolution showed that eight areas with low risk of infection will no longer be under CQ.
These are Ilocos (Region 1); Mimaropa (Region 4-B); Bicol (Region 5); Western Visayas (Region 6); Eastern Visayas (Region 8); Northern Mindanao (Region 10); Soccsksargen (Region 12); and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
However, upon the request of their respective local officials, these areas will now be under MGCQ starting May 16.
Under MGCQ, socio-economic activities will be allowed for as long as minimum public health standards are observed.
“Wala na po tayong area sa buong Pilipinas na hindi under community quarantine (We no longer have any area in the entire country that is not under community quarantine),” he said.
Año emphasized that local officials will be given guidelines on how to implement the MGCQ.
Meantime, areas with moderate risk of infection namely Cagayan Valley (Region 2); Central Luzon (Region 3); Calabarzon (Region 4-A); Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR); Central Visayas (Region 7) except Cebu City; Zamboanga Peninsula (Region 9); Davao Region (Region 11); and Caraga (Region 13) will be under GCQ from May 16 to 31.
Areas with high risk of infection namely Metro Manila, Laguna and Cebu City will be placed under a “modified ECQ” from May 16 to 31.
A modified ECQ allows limited movement within the zone for obtaining essential services and work; the operation of selected manufacturing and processing plants up to a 50 percent workforce; and limited transporting services for essential goods and services.
By May 16, all ECQ areas are expected to transition to either a modified ECQ, GCQ, or MGCQ.
Meantime, he stressed the importance of the role of local officials in minimizing the risk of transmission among their respective areas in preventing second or third waves of Covid-19 infection.
President Rodrigo Duterte, in his speeches, has repeatedly warned of a second or third wave of infection while asking the public to observe physical distancing and other safety precautions against the virus.
According to health authorities, the country has now 11,618 confirmed Covid-19 cases of which 772 died and 2,251 recovered as of Wednesday (May 13). (Azer Parrocha, PNA)