What’s next after May 31? IATF may decide on future of quarantine by May 27
MANILA, Philippines — Will Metro Manila and other areas deemed high risk to COVID-19 infection remain under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) after May 31?
The fate of the coronavirus lockdown will be known soon, as presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases may decide on the government’s next steps by Wednesday.
“Inaasahan naman po natin na bukas baka meron nang desisyon [ang IATF],” Roque said in a televised Palace briefing Tuesday.
(We expect that by tomorrow IATF might have a decision.)
Roque, also the task force spokesperson, said among the factors the IATF will consider in making its recommendations to President Rodrigo Duterte include case doubling rates or the time it takes for the number of confirmed cases to double in certain areas, the country’s critical care capacity, and the economy.
It would be Duterte who will have the last say whether or not Metro Manila, Laguna, Bataan, Angeles City, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Zambales will transition from MECQ to general community quarantine (GCQ), following over two months of strict movement restrictions.
Other areas in the country—except for Cebu City and Mandaue City which remain under ECQ— were earlier placed under GCQ where some strict quarantine measures were eased.
Under GCQ, public transportation resumes at a reduced capacity, people can go back to work in certain sectors, and “non-leisure” establishments can open apart from essential ones.
Several sectors were allowed to partially operate starting May 16 in areas under MECQ, which included Metro Manila—the country’s economic center— in a bid to restart the country’s economy, which has been heavily battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roque likewise bared in the same press briefing that the IATF is set to have a dialogue with religious leaders via teleconference on Tuesday afternoon.
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