NCR+ may ease to 'ordinary' GCQ next week — Palace

The National Capital Region (NCR) Plus might shift to an "ordinary" general community quarantine (GCQ) by mid-June amid the improving health situation, Malacañang declared Thursday.

A health worker gives a coronavirus shot to an essential worker while Las Piñas Vice Mayor April Aguilar oversees the vaccine rollout at the Village Square in Las Piñas City (Ali Vicoy/ Manila Bulletin)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque admitted that the situation in Metro Manila was "looking good," citing the drop in the critical health care utilization rate.

As of June 9, Roque said 53 percent of the 1,200 intensive care unit (ICU) beds in Metro Manila are being used. At least 39 percent of the 4,800 isolation beds are in use while 37 percent of hte 3,600 ward beds are utilized.

"For Metro Manila, the numbers are looking good. The hospital care utilization remains very low or at 53 in ICU beds, at iyan po iyong isang importanteng (and that's an important) factor for escalation," he said during a televised press briefing Thursday, June 10.

"So I would say in fact that based on the figures, Metro Manila Plus might be looking at de-escalation. It might not be to MGCQ but it could be to ordinary GCQ because ang GCQ po natin ngayon ay mayroon pang mga (our GCQ today have) restrictions," he added.

After a strict lockdown to curb the rapid surge in infections last March,, National Capital Region and four nearby provinces have eased to the GCQ last mid-May but with restrictions including prohibition on certain mass gatherings. These areas, collectively known as NCR Plus, will remain under such community quarantine classification until June 15.

Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) members are expected to hold a meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss the GCQ restrictions, including whether gyms will be allowed to resume operations. The Palace official said he would announce the IATF decision on the matter.