Nationwide ECQ? That’s fake news, says Palace

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    MALACAÑANG officials yesterday branded as fake news the post that became viral on social media platforms over the weekend stating that an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest quarantine level, will be implemented nationwide from December 23 this year to January 3, 2021 to prevent a likely spike in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections after the holidays.

    Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the public should not believe nor spread such fake news.

    “Alamin ang totoo. Huwag maniwala at huwag po magkalat ng fake news lalo na ngayong panahon. Patuloy lang po tayo maging responsable sa sarili at sa pamilya (Know the truth. Please do not believe and do not spread fake news especially during this time. Let us continue to be responsible for ourselves and for our families),” Nograles said.

    National Task Force against COVOD-19 spokesman Restituto Padilla said they will verify the report and trace where it came from.

    “Everyone is strongly advised not to believe news or information coming from unverified sources. Please ensure you verify or ask authorities or trusted organizations about the veracity of such information before believing and passing it around. Let us not be instruments of fake news distribution and help our fellow kababayans,” he added.

    Over the weekend, messages circulated in social media that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) will supposedly declare a nationwide ECQ from December 23 of this year until January 3 of 2021 to keep everyone inside their homes during the holiday break, thus preventing COVID-19 infections from skyrocketing to new record highs.

    The government had been advising the public to continue observing minimum health protocols despite being more lenient in movement and travels and gatherings during the holidays, as well as the nearing availability of a COVID-19 vaccine, which is expected early next year.

    The government has earlier warned of a possible increase in COVID-19 cases as more people are allowed to go out and gather for the holidays.

    AGE RESTRICTION

    Meanwhile, the Quezon City government announced it has raised the age of authorized individuals allowed to go out of their homes to 18 years old.

    In the city’s revised guidelines, persons between 18 to 65 years old are allowed to leave home, provided that they have a company ID, school ID or any government-issued ID. Persons younger or older than the permitted ages may leave home only for essential trips.
    Mayor Joy Belmonte reminded all residents to abide by the revised guidelines to ensure a healthy and happier Christmas celebration.

    Meanwhile, children below 18 will be allowed to go out only for essential needs such as medical or dental appointments. They must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.

    The parent or guardian should likewise supervise the minor in observing health protocols such as wearing of face masks, regular handwashing, and physical distancing.

    In the meantime, other Christmas traditions such as “Simbang Gabi” and community fireworks display will still push through in accordance with health protocols and guidelines.

    Attendees of Simbang Gabi should not exceed 30 percent of the venue’s capacity and basic health protocols must be followed, such as social distancing and wearing of face masks and face shields.

    The city government has shortened its curfew period from 12 midnight to 3 a.m. starting Dec. 16 in time for the start of the Simbang Gabi.

    As for fireworks display, the city government said it will only be allowed in designated locations such as the Quezon Memorial Circle and Eastwood and must be livestreamed online so anyone can enjoy without having to go out of their homes.
    The traditional caroling is likewise prohibited.