Metro Manila along with six other areas will remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) until the end of the year, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday night.
In a taped speech aired over PTV-4, Duterte said Metro Manila, the provinces of Batangas and Lanao del Sur, and cities of Iloilo, Tacloban, Iligan, and Davao will remain under GCQ until Dec. 31.
The rest of the country will be under modified general community quarantine, he added.
Last Nov. 30, Davao City reverted to GCQ following a rise in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.
Melquiades Feliciano, deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 for the Visayas, was tasked to lead the Coordinated Operations to Defeat the Epidemic (CODE) teams that were deployed in Davao City to help in the response efforts.
Duterte renewed his call to the public to observe quarantine protocols such as frequent hand-washing, physical distancing, and wearing of face masks and face shields.
He also hit critics for questioning the government’s Covid-19 response, insisting that a vaccine was the only way to eliminate the virus.
“Ang panlaban lang ng (The only way to fight) Covid is wash your hand, wear a mask, and stay home. ‘yan lang ang medisina diyan. Hindi mo mabili sa botika ‘yan (that’s the only medicine for it. You can’t mind it in a pharmacy). Stay safe,” he said.
Metro Manila mayors earlier recommended retaining GCQ status for the rest of the year.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) expressed doubts over further relaxing quarantine restrictions as it may result in a possible spike in cases.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier proposed to ban Christmas parties, caroling, and other mass gatherings.
Last week, Duterte also reminded the public to strictly follow minimum health and safety protocols to prevent a post-Christmas holiday surge of Covid-19 cases.
As of Monday, data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed the country logged 1,773 new cases raising the country’s active cases to 24,580.
Forty-four patients recovered, raising total recoveries to 398,658 while 19 more deaths pushed the death toll to 8,392. (PNA)