Last week, the IATF announced that Metro Manila would be placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) beginning August 6 until August 20, 2021. By placing the region under the strictest form of quarantine, it would help reduce the number of cases and possibly prevent the deadlier and more contagious Delta variant from spreading further.

In a press briefing on Monday, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairperson Benhur Abalos said that Metro Manila mayors have decided to enforce longer curfew hours. For reference, the current curfew hours under general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened and additional restrictions” are 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM. Before that, it was from 12:00 AM to 4:00 AM. But come August 6, the curfew hours will be from 8:00 PM to 4:00 AM.

Aside from the longer curfew, the implementation of ECQ also means only essential establishments will be allowed to operate. Meanwhile, only APORs or authorized persons outside of residence who are from age 18 to 65 will be allowed to go out. Minors and senior citizens will have to stay home regardless if they are vaccinated or not.

Abalos adds that quarantine passes used from previous implementations of ECQ and issued by local government units will continue to be used as well. Given the short timeline before the reimplementation of ECQ, the MMDA head says there's not enough time to issue new IDs.

While we are currently still under GCQ “with heightened and additional restrictions”, the government has already banned dine-in at restaurants (both indoor and alfresco), stopped indoor sports, and limited personal care services, all while APOR guidelines have begun being enforced. Checkpoints have also been put up around the borders of NCR and NCR+ (Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal).

With the country recording 8,000 cases daily again, it's best to put our plans of going out on hold for the coming ECQ weeks and stay home. If it can be helped, staying in as much as you can this week may be a good thing, too.