METRO Manila will stay under general community quarantine (GCQ) until the end of the month, but two cities in the province of Cebu will be under the stricter enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) category due to continued high cases of COVID-19.
President Duterte made the announcement late Monday night as he approved the recommendation submitted by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
Cebu City will be under the strictest home-stay ECQ level, while Talisay City will be under modified ECQ until June 30.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the President approved IATF Resolution No. 46-A, which contained the new quarantine classifications recommended by the Task Force, on June 15.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the IATF recommendation was based on the number of COVID-19 cases in the areas, the rate of transmission and case doubling time, and critical care utilization.
Metro Manila and Cebu City were under GCQ until June 15.
Duque said: “Due to the increasing number of new cases and widespread community transmission in majority of barangays in the city as well as the consistent case doubling time of less than seven days, and significant increase in critical care utilization against critical care capacity, Cebu City shall be placed under ECQ.”
He said the same reasons were considered in declaring Talisay City under MECQ.
Metro Manila stayed under GCQ for still having the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
Apart from Metro Manila, other areas in Luzon under GCQ until June 30 are Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino and Santiago City in Cagayan Valley (Region 2); Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Olongapo, Tarlac in Central Luzon (Region 3); Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon in Calabarzon (Region 4-A); and Occidental Mindoro in Mimaropa (Region 4-B).
Other areas under GCQ are Cebu province, Bohol, Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Mandaue City, and Lapu-Lapu City in Central Visayas (Region 7); and Davao and Zamboanga cities in Mindanao.
The rest of the country is under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) like Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province and Baguio City in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR); Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan and Dagupan City in the Ilocos Region (Region I); Batanes in Cagayan Valley (Region II); Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales, Angeles City in Central Luzon (Region III); Lucena City in Calabarzon (Region IV-A); and Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Palawan, Puerto Princesa City in Mimaropa (Region IV-B).
Also under MGCQ are Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, Sorsogon, Legazpi City, and Naga City in Bicol (Region V); Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Iloilo City, Bacolod City in Western Visayas (Rehion VI); Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Western Samar, Southern Leyte, Ormoc City, and Tacloban City in Eastern Visayas (Region VIII).
The following areas are also under MGCQ: Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Isabela City in the Zamboanga Peninsula (Region IX); Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro City in Northern Mindanao (Region X); and Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, and Davao Oriental in Davao (Region XI).
Also under MGCQ are North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, General Santos City in Soccskargen (Region XII); Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Butuan City in Caraga (Region XIII); and Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Cotabato City in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Duque reminded the public to continue observing minimum public health standards and ensure uniform implementation of healthcare settings especially in high-risk public places such as wet markets, supermarkets, government offices and private workplaces, among others.
He said immediate facility-based isolation of all returning citizens, suspect and probable cases should be followed and a scaling up of local health system capacity, especially for community isolation and critical care including dedicated mechanical ventilators, ICU, isolation and ward beds for COVID-19 cases, should also be made.
Duque said localized community quarantines may be declared by local government units (LGUs) in priority and critical areas with community transmission with the concurrence of the regional IATF.
In his late night address, the President said he is set to talk with the business sector which would help determine if there is still a need or “whether or not we can still modify the modified lockdown that we have imposed.”
Roque said such meeting may, however, happen after June 30.
Roque, on Tuesday, said the high number of cases in Cebu City and its being reverted back to ECQ is a cause for concern especially since the city is conceded as the “gateway to the whole Visayas.”
“Kung hindi po natin ma-contain ang pagkalat ng sakit dito sa Cebu City malaki po ang posibilidad na baka po kumalat muli sa iba’t ibang parte ng Visayas at pati na po sa Luzon dahil gateway din po ng papunta ng Visayas galing Luzon ang Cebu (If we do not contain the spread of the disease in Cebu City, there is a big possibility tat it would spread to other areas in the Visayas and even in Luzon because Cebu is the gateway to and Visayas and Luzon),” he said.
National Task Force on the COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr., said he had been coordinating with the Office of the Presidential Adviser of Visayas and local government officials in the Visayas, especially in Cebu City and Talisay City, about the high number of COVID-19 cases and what can be done to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Galvez said a surveillance team, which will include representatives from the DOH, will be dispatched to Cebu and Talisay cities on Wednesday to closely observe the situation.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said more police personnel may be deployed to Cebu City to help strictly enforce quarantine measures.
Roque said Cebu City was subjected to strictest restrictions after it recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases per city in the country at 2,810 cases as of June 14 (up from 1,749 in May 31), its case doubling time reached the high risk level of 6.63 cases; and 76 percent of its barangays or 61 of 80 barangays recorded active cases.
He said the city’s critical care capacity is also down compared to other cities, municipalities and provinces. Cebu City reported that its ventilators are down to 45 percent, while it retained a 10 percent ICU bed capacity, 90 percent isolation bed capacity and 93 percent ward bed capacity.
Roque acknowledged that the case doubling time in Cebu City is close to the level of Metro Manila at 6.9 to 7 cases, but said that NCR is doing better in terms of critical care system.
He added that while Cebu City had been declared as the city with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, Metro Manila remains the epicenter of the novel coronavirus.
With the retention of the NCR in the GCQ, Roque said the public should expect that more zonal or barangay-level lockdowns will be implemented to stop the spread of COVD-19 to other areas.
He said there would also be stricter implementation of health protocols especially when involving travel and inter-zonal passage.
President Duterte renewed his call for the public to be united and cooperative as he reiterated that the easing of the lockdown does not mean that the COVID-19 pandemic was over.
The President reiterated his belief that only a vaccine can treat or kill the coronavirus and if such vaccine or pill exists, he would help in the administering of the drug.
“The only way to fight COVID is vaccine or maybe a miracle pill that would kill just as an antibiotic would kill bacteria. But this virus cannot be killed by antibiotic. Your body should produce the antibodies,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.
Duterte said until then, the public should comply with the minimum health standard and follow all imposed restrictions.
Muntinlupa Mayor Jaime Fresnedia imposed a city-wide curfew and market schedule in his jurisdiction while Metro Manila remains under GCQ until June 30.
Fresnedi said he approved two City Ordinances for the enforcement of the curfew hour in the city and the scheduling of its public market operations.
City Ordinance Nos. 2020-102 placed the city-wide curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m and “it will take effect immediately.”
Fresnedia said no person shall be allowed to go out of their respective homes during the GCQ and MGCQ, except for essential travel and emergency cases.
“Persons exempted from the curfew include Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR) as enumerated by the Joint Task Force COVID Shield, those whose work involves the delivery of essential goods and services, those who work in night shift or a 24-hour on-call duty and those providing public transportation,” he said.
Anyone who will violate the ordinance will be penalized with a P500 fine for the first offense and P1,000 for succeeding offenses. Violators of the curfew ordinance will be listed in their respective barangay blotter list and will forfeit grants and benefits from the local government.
On the other hand, City Ordinance 2020-103 regulated the operating hours of the Alabang public market.
Residents from district 1 and non-Muntinlupa residents can visit the market on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Residents from district 2 can restock on their food supplies on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
The market shall be closed on Mondays for disinfection and sanitation of stalls and other areas of the market.
Persons going to the Alabang public market are required to present a valid identification card (ID) as proof of their residence address.
He said market-goers are also mandated to use face masks and strictly observe physical distancing, while stall owners are required to install clear barriers and provide disinfectants for the use of customers and vendors. Violators will face penalties such as closure, suspension, or revocation of business permits or licenses
“The initiative to implement a curfew and market schedule for residents aims to limit movements and interactions in public places which are hotspots for the transmission of COVID-19,” Fresnedi said.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Muntinlupa jumped from 226 in May 31 to 303 last June 15. – With Noel Talacay