Yesterday, the Metro Manila Council was considering to further extend the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) amid the continued rise of COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR). Instead of shifting from ECQ to General Community Quarantine (GCQ), members of the MMC were actually looking to extend it until June 15, 2020.
Now, after holding a five-hour meeting, the MMC has decided to forward a total of three recommendations to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
1) Extend the current ECQ in Metro Manila up to 15 more days
2) After the ECQ period has ended, the NCR will be put under GCQ for an indefinite amount of time
3) Local government units (LGUs) can impose lockdowns on their local barangays as needed
With the NCR having a total of 6,916 confirmed cases (of which 5,094 are still active), it's no wonder that the Metro Manila Council has recommended to further extend the ECQ. In addition, Malacanan Palace has already announced that areas that are considered high-risk will remain under ECQ.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, this is the government's current plan as the IATF has yet to give their recommendations to President Duterte.
“Ang desisyon kung ano yung mga lugar na mananatili sa ECQ will be granular na tinatawag at it will also be surgical. So hindi po totoo na lahat ng lugar sa Metro Manila ay magiging GCQ na at hindi naman totoo na ang buong Metro Manila ay mananatili sa ECQ,” said Roque.
[The decision on areas where ECQ should remain will be granular and surgical. So it’s not true that all areas in Metro Manila will either be under GCQ and ECQ.]
As for the recommendation forwarded by the MMC, Roque said that they will consider what the council has stated as they are the ones implementing the government's program to control the spread of COVID-19.
Today, the Department of Health (DOH) has reported that the country now has 10,610 confirmed cases of COVID-19. In NCR alone, the cases have exceeded 6,900, with Quezon City still having the highest number of cases at 1,523. Next are Manila and Paranaque which have 833 and 500 confirmed COVID-19 cases accordingly. Meanwhile, the cities of Makati, Mandaluyong, and Pasig have 477, 445, and 311 respectively.
With the IATF having yet to finalize their recommendations to President Duterte, we will just have to wait and see what the task force will come up with soon. But with citizens already growing restless and looking to get back to work amid a more relaxed GCQ, the IATF have their work cut out for them.