Metro Manila to remain under MECQ as GCQ + granular lockdown set-up gets deferred

Published September 7, 2021, 7:00 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The switch to a general community quarantine (GCQ) along with the pilot-testing of granular lockdowns in Metro Manila won’t push through on Sept. 8 after all.

(Ali Vicoy/ File photo/ MANILA BULLETIN)

This, as members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) appeared to struggle to come up with guidelines for the localized granular lockdowns a day before the scheduled implementation of the vaunted scheme Tuesday, Sept. 7.

“The [IATF] deferred the pilot implementation of the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with Alert Levels System in the National Capital Region (NCR),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement to Malacañang reporters early Tuesday evening.

“Metro Manila’s current risk classification as Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) shall be maintained until September 15, 2021, or until the pilot GCQ with Alert Level System is implemented, whichever comes first,” he said.

In his virtual press briefing past noon Tuesday, Roque said he was instructed at the last minute not to discuss the guidelines of the granular lockdown pending additional inputs from local government units (LGUs).

An IATF meeting was held at 3 p.m. to supposedly iron out the remaining kinks of the pilot-testing, but it instead resulted to the postponement of not just the granular lockdowns but the downgrading of the quarantine classification in NCR from the current MECQ to GCQ.

Roque had earlier said that under rather granular lockdown set-up, the different LGUs in the metropolis would be placed under varying “alert levels”.

“Having said this (maintening MECQ classification), indoor and al-fresco dine-in services, and personal care services including beauty salons, beauty parlors and nail spas shall remain prohibited,” Roque said in the same statement.

“Religious services, on the other hand, performed through online video recording and transmission shall be allowed,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Palace official said immediate family members are allowed to attend necrological services, wakes, inurnment and funerals as long as the deceased died of non-COVID-19 causes.

“However, they need to show satisfactory proof of their relationship with the deceased and have to comply with the minimum public health standards,” he stressed.

The postponement of the GCQ and granular lockdowns set-up in NCR came amid the current surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, wherein new daily infections of over 20,000 have become commonplace.