MANILA — Metro Manila and its suburbs are again under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) for 15 days after President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday heeded the call of medical front-liners who asked for a “timeout” and realignment of the government’s strategy against COVID-19 Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.
Considered as the second-highest category in PH’s four-step quarantine system, the re-imposition of MECQ will start at midnight on Aug. 4.
Aside from Metro Manila, it will also be in effect in the provinces of Laguna, Rizal, Cavite, Bulacan.
The last time that it was enforced was from May 16-31 where quarantine passes were required and though many businesses were allowed to open, they can do so at limited capacity while manufacturing and processing can accordingly restart at 50% capacity.
“Kung walang tutulong sa bansa at sa mga kababayaan natin, sino maasahan ko? Sino maasahan natin na gumawa ng trabahong ito? ‘Wag kayo mawalan ng pag-asa. Nakikita at kausap ko ang iba sa inyo. You stretch your patience and your endurance can also take so much, your fervor. Habaan na lang nyo yung pansensiya ninyo at yung fervor,” Duterte said in a midnight address.
In imposing back the MECQ, the Chief Executive also called on local officials in MECQ areas to strictly enforce pandemic protocols.
“Sa Maynila, madaming tao na lumalabas, madaming mahahawa,” he said.
Authorities also reminded the populace regarding the minimum requirement in the fight against Covid-19 like handwashing, physical distancing and wearing of face masks, and face shields when outside the house.
The rollback to MECQ effectively stymied the reopening of gyms, drive-thru cinemas, and grooming services such as nail spas in the capital region.
Under guidelines released last week, they could operate only in areas under the two lowest quarantines, GCQ (general community quarantine) and MGCQ (modified general community quarantine).
Since Thursday, confirmed cases have been rising by some 4,000 daily and by Sunday, it was at 103,185.
But on Friday, 31 July 2020, Duterte announced Metro Manila would remain under GCQ for 15 more days until Aug. 15 but the following day front-liners made up of at least 80 different medical organizations called for a timeout and a 15-day re-imposition of ECQ.