Even though there were still many days left for the present quarantine classifications this month, the government’s pandemic task force said it would continue to balance health and economy in safely reopening more industries for the National Capital Region-plus (NCR-plus) bubble area come June.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles made the statement as Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal remain under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until May 14.
In an interview with Teleradyo, Nograles said the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases would make the necessary adjustments so people in the MECQ areas can make a living despite the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Kung kakayanin naman nating bumaba ang NCR-plus sa GCQ (general community quarantine) then so much more the better para mas maraming makapag-trabaho (If we can downgrade NCR-plus to GCQ then so much the better so that more people could go and work),” he said.
“We will make the adjustments depende sa classification kasi dito na pumapasok ‘yung balancing health and economy (depending on the classification because this is where balancing health and economy comes in),” he added.
Nograles, who co-chairs the IATF, recognized the importance of being able to work to combat the threat of hunger during the quarantine period.
“Alam nating napaka-importante ang trabaho para malabanan din ang problema ng kagutuman lalo na sa NCR Plus at sa mga areas na under MECQ (We all know the importance of work to combat the problem of hunger particularly in NCR Plus and other areas under MECQ),” he said.
The Palace official said that if NCR-plus continues to under MECQ, the government would have to reopen more industries to allow people to work.
The IATF has allowed barbershops, beauty parlors, and other personal care establishments to operate on 30-percent capacity. Dine-in services of food establishments were likewise allowed to resume only at a 10-percent venue or seating capacity.
The following areas are under the MECQ until May 14, 2021:
- City of Santiago, Isabela
- Zamboanga City
Meanwhile, Nograles said the recommendation for the June quarantine will be made on the last week of May. It will be based on health care utilization rate, attack rate, and two-week growth rate in COVID-19 cases.