MECQ scenario: More checkpoints, quarantine pass revived

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    Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar at a checkpoint in Cavite. (Photo from pna.gov.ph)

    THE PNP has set up additional checkpoints in key areas in Mega Manila which shifts from general community quarantine (GCQ) on Tuesday to the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), which is seen to slow down the surging number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

    Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP deputy chief for operations and concurrent chief of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield, said the checkpoints will be in addition to the ones that were set up when Metro Manila and nearby provinces were placed under GCQ in June.

    Eleazar said he has given orders to police commanders in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal to set up the control points especially in city and municipal boundaries.

    President Duterte late Sunday night approved the recommendation of his Cabinet officials to place Metro Manila and nearby provinces with high COVID-19 cases under a stricter quarantine as appealed by medical societies who said the government is losing its war against the novel coronavirus because of loose quarantine regulations that allowed more people out of their homes, thus exposing them to infection risks.

    The MECQ classification is effective from August 4 to 18.

    Eleazar said policemen who will man the checkpoints will strictly implement MECQ guidelines and ensure that only those who are included in the list of Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR) are allowed to go out of their homes.

    To see the complete guidelines of activities permitted under the various modes of quarantine, please click on the chart.

    “We will be implementing stricter measures in areas under MECQ for 15 days starting midnight,” said Eleazar. “This is not something new to our kababayans in Metro Manila and the four nearby provinces because we have been under this community quarantine before so what we are asking is for the cooperation of everybody to make the implementation of the security measures both for the public and your Philippine National Police.”

    Interior Secretary Eduardo Aħo, a member of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), said the barangay quarantine pass system will be revived in MECQ areas to limit the movement of people.

    “Under MECQ, there is a need for a quarantine pass. The LGUs will be issuing quarantine passes anew and we will leave it to them on how they would implement it,” Aħo said.

    Eleazar advised residents of MECO areas to go out of their residence only to buy items like food supplies and medicine. Under the quarantine pass policy, only one member per household is allowed to go out to buy essential items.

    Eleazar also discouraged people from buying essential items from other towns or municipality.

    “We highly encourage them to buy food and avail other basic goods and services in their respective communities because they will not be allowed to pass the Quarantine Control Points (QCPs) which we will set up anew at the borders of cities and municipalities of Metro Manila and the four provinces that would be reverted to MECQ,” he said.

    CLUSTERING OF CASES

    As COVID-19 cases continue to balloon, the Department of Health said there are now close to 900 areas where clustering of cases had been identified.

    “We have a total of 887 clustering reported through the Event-based Surveillance and Response,” said the DOH. Clustering is defined as places, where there are 2 or more COVID-19 cases at a specific time.

    Of the 887, a total of 741 were located in communities. There were also clustering of cases found in 57 hospitals and health facilities, and 26 jails and penal colonies, while the remaining 63 are composed of workplaces, accommodations, and transportation systems, among others.

    There were 315 total clusters identified in the NCR, which were found in various places.

    In Metro Manila’s cities and municipality, a total of 241 communities have clustering of cases. There were also clustering of cases in 34 NCR hospitals and health facilities, and 12 Metro Manila jails and penal colonies. — With Gerard Naval