The government is keeping the strict quarantine restrictions in several parts of the country next month to stem the surging cases of the Delta coronavirus variant.
President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a taped public address on July 29, 2021. (RTVM screenshot)
President Duterte has approved to retain Metro Manila and several areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions” from August 1 to 15 to curb the coronavirus outbreak.
Iloilo province and three other places will also remain under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 1 to 7 as a precaution against the virus spread.
“It would be good to adopt stricter measures for the protection of the people,” the President said during a taped televised address late Wednesday, July 28, in approving the country’s risk classification for the month of August.
“Itong variant Delta is causing so much scary stories for us kaya kung sabi na (so if they say) four times more aggressive, more transmissibility is faster than the usual COVID-19, nakakatakot nga (it is really scary). So the best way really is to double the time in the inoculation of people,” he added.
The latest quarantine classification levels of the cities and provinces were recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) during a meeting Wednesday.
The country has so far recorded more than 1.5 million coronavirus cases, including 119 cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant. Twenty-five of these Delta cases were reportedly detected in Metro Manila.
The areas under ECQ until August 7 are the following:
1. Iloilo City
2. Iloilo Province
3. Cagayan de Oro City
4. Gingoog City
The places under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from August 1 to 15 are the following:
1. Ilocos Norte
3. Lapu-Lapu City
4. Mandaue City
Apart from Metro Manila, areas under GCQ with heightened restrictions until August 15 are Ilocos Sur, Cagayan, Bulacan, Laguna, Lucena City, Cavite, Rizal, Naga City, Antique, Aklan, Bacolod City, Capiz, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, Davao Occidental, and Butuan City.
The places under regular GCQ for the month of August are Baguio City, Apayao, City of Santiago, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Quezon, Batangas, Puerto Princesa, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Zamboanga Sibugay, City of Zamboanga, Zamboanga del Norte, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, General Santos City, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Sur, and Cotabato City.
The rest of the country will stay under modified GCQ for the entire month of August.
Roque said the risk classifications are subject to the appeals of the local government units.
Prior to the President’s decision, Roque bared the IATF recommendation on the risk classification of cities and provinces for August during a meeting with other officials Wednesday. He made the announcement to dispel rumors about the supposed “circuit breaker lockdown-style” ECQ to be imposed in Metro Manila and other areas.
Roque meantime said IATF made other recommendations to enhance health precautions to curb the local transmission of the Delta coronavirus strain.
Among the proposals are to shorten the COVID-19 case detection to isolation/quarantine interval to less than five days, implement facility isolation and quarantine and avoid home isolation, enhance health capacity systems, and strengthen preparations in the event of a case spike in a community.
The task force likewise called for the accelerated vaccination of the vulnerable population, particularly the senior citizens and those with comorbidity. Border controls must also be strictly enforced in all ports of entry.
IATF also recommended to closely monitor the situation and won’t hesitate to escalate the quarantine classification if the COVID cases continued to increase, according to Roque.