MANILA, Philippines — The National Capital Region (NCR) and four other provinces have been placed under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions beginning Friday (July 23) until Saturday (July 31).
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to impose such restrictions due to threats of COVID-19 infections specifically following the confirmation of Delta variant cases in the country.
The same IATF rules would be observed when NCR was previously under GCQ with heightened restrictions.
Apart from Metro Manila, areas also placed under GCQ with heightened restrictions are:
- Ilocos Norte
- Ilocos Sur
- Davao de Oro
- Davao Del Norte
Prior to the recent change in restrictions, both Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur were under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) supposedly until the end of July.
Davao de Oro and Davao del Norte were under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).
As these areas will be placed under GCQ with heightened restrictions. Children five years old and above will not be allowed to go to outdoor areas, as provided for under IATF Resolution No. 125 (s.2021).
Meanwhile, Davao del Sur, which was previously under MECQ, is placed under GCQ starting July 23, 2021 until July 31, 2021.
Given the new restrictions, the following measures must strictly be implemented:
-All incoming international travelers in all ports of entry must strictly comply with testing and quarantine protocols approved by the IATF in order to prevent the introduction of variants of concern to the country.
-All close contacts of the confirmed case inside the plane or vessel must be identified by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) to closely monitor them.
-Infection prevention and control protocols must likewise be strictly followed in all quarantine and isolation facilities.
-Local government units handover must include clear transportation arrangements and quarantine accommodation.
-Local government units must closely monitor for the appearance of any sign or symptom while arrivals are completing their quarantine and immediately conduct RT-PCR testing after detection of symptoms.
-Health assessment must be done for all arrivals at the end of isolation or quarantine period.
-Establishments are asked to consider developing and converting more outdoor spaces into temporary outdoor weekend markets and dining spaces, as outdoor recreational spaces and public sanitation facilities to enable the safe continuity of economic activities.
-Foreign spouses, parent/s, and/or children of Filipino citizens with valid 9(a) visas are allowed to enter the Philippines without the need of an entry exemption document beginning August 1, 2021.
The IATF also approved the continuous and strengthened implementation of the Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) Strategy which includes active case finding, intensified contact tracing, immediate quarantine/isolation which should preferably be in a facility, declaration of localized Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) down to the zone or barangay levels, stricter implementation and observance of minimum public health standards, and fast-tracked deployment of COVID-19 vaccines.