The National Task Force (NTF) against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) has approved the implementation of “stricter” general community quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila and other provinces to stop the further spread of the disease.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said members of NTF Covid-19 met on Tuesday night and agreed to consider the recommendations of Metro Manila’s local chief executives to impose a stricter form of GCQ that was initially implemented in June.
“There was an NTF meeting and we considered the recommendations of the mayors to actually impose stricter GCQ because when we consulted the mayors, they were in agreement that it should be GCQ but it should be of a strict type similar to what was imposed in June when we imposed GCQ,” Roque said in an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source.
The latest move means that the newest guidelines on the implementation of nationwide community quarantine issued in July have been effectively tweaked.
Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Nueva Ecija, and Batangas have been placed under GCQ until August 31.
Also under GCQ are the cities of Iloilo, Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, and Talisay, as well as the municipalities of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu province.
Roque said the implementation of “localized and granular” lockdowns in areas under GCQ would be “aggressively” pursued.
“While we have imposed GCQ, we will follow strict, localized, or granular lockdown,” he said.
Roque said the NTF Covid-19 has also agreed that mass gatherings, including religious services, in GCQ zones must be strictly limited to “only 10 persons.”
“That means it is no longer the case that religious gathering is allowed up to 10 or 10 percent of the capacity. It is now only 10 people strictly,” he said.
Roque also said the operations of gyms, internet cafes, review and tutorial centers would be suspended amid the implementation of GCQ.
Restaurants and salons located in areas where GCQ is imposed can operate but the capacity of their customers would be determined by local government units (LGUs), Roque said.
“We leave it now to the LGUs to determine the capacity of dine-in, as well as the salon because that’s what the mayors asked — to have more discretion in opening sensitive industries and businesses,” he said.
Roque added that back ride is allowed in places under GCQ, so long as the driver and the passenger share the same address.
“They’re not required to wear the barriers. However, they are still required to wear a helmet, face mask, and face shield. If they are of different addresses, then they will have the angkas-side barrier. But in any case, only private motorcycles are allowed,” Roque said.
Roque also noted that the “unified” curfew hours in areas under GCQ is now back from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
LGUs can also issue quarantine passes in places put under GCQ, he said.
“Needless to say, in areas that are covered by localized or granular lockdowns, quarantine passes are a must,” Roque said. (PNA)