Metro Manila may be placed under GCQ in June —Sec. Lorenzana

Maris Federez   •   May 24, 2020   •   795

MANILA, Philippines — National Task Force Against Covid-19 chairperson and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Sunday (May 24) said that Metro Manila may possibly be placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) in June.

With this, Metro Manila residents may expect more relaxed quarantine restrictions to be implemented next month.

Lorenzana said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has been discussing the readiness of the capital region for it to be transitioned to GCQ from the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

“More likely mag-gi-GCQ na tayo by June 1,” the defense chief said.

He added that areas that still have novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases will remain under their control.

“Ang pinag-uusapan namin sa IATF, eh mag-GCQ, pero ‘yung mga areas na meron pa ring… mga infection baka ‘yun na lang ang ikontrol ng konti,” Lorenzana said.

The areas that will be placed under GCQ are those that are considered to be at low risk of COVID-19. With this, more industries will be allowed to operate.

Lorenzana insists that although recorded COVID-19 cases has been going down everyday, quarantine measures must remain to prevent the second wave of the infection.

“We would like to impress in our people ‘yung self-discipline, para masanay sila na ito na ‘yung new normal, na social distancing, wearing of face mask, sanitation,” the official said.

Task Force Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr. has earlier mentioned about the planned “zoning concept” or the measure that will limit the implementation of a lockdown in an area based on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. —(with details from Victor Cosare) /mbmf

GrabCar services to be suspended until MECQ is lifted, Grab says

Robie de Guzman   •   August 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Ride-hailing service firm, Grab Philippines, on Monday announced the suspension of its GrabCar services following the reimposition of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, Grab Philippines said its GrabCar services will be temporarily unavailable until the MECQ has been lifted.

“We’re temporarily suspending our GrabCar operations in all serviced areas under MECQ,” it said.

“Shutdown will commence at 10 pm tonight, August 3, 2020, until the MECQ is lifted,” it added.

Grab Philippines made the announcement after President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday placed Metro Manila, Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite and Rizal under MECQ starting from August 4 to 18 amid the surge in novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

The move follows the appeal of medical workers to place Metro Manila under stricter quarantine classification for two weeks to give them a breathing space and to rethink the strategies in dealing with the public health crisis.

Grab Philippines, however, assured that other services including GrabExpress, GrabFood, and GrabMart will remain operational “to serve and deliver your essentials during MECQ.”

GrabPay will also continue to provide cashless payments and minimize contact, it added.

“We continue to be one with our communities when it comes to battling the spread of COVID-19,” it said.

Duterte approves issuance of new quarantine passes in MECQ areas

Marje Pelayo   •   August 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the use of quarantine passes in areas that will be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) starting August 4.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, it is up to the discretion of the local government units if they will release a new batch of quarantine passes.

“Iyong quarantine passes, dalawa lang kada pamilya. Iyong mga may work permits naman po, pwedeng mag-issue ang mga local government units pero na-include po iyan kasi ang assumption natin ay walang MECQ (Only two quarantine passes for each family. As for those with work permits, the local government units may issue such but that has been included already because the assumption was, there would be no MECQ) That’s initially for localized lockdown GCQ,” Roque said.

But for essential workers or workers of allowed industries, a company ID would be enough to pass through checkpoints.

“I think for now, ipakita iyong kanilang ID at iyon ang magpapatunay na sila ay nagtatrabaho sa industriya na pinapayagang mag-operate under MECQ, (For now, they can present their ID and that will prove that they are working in industries allowed under MECQ).” he added.

Meanwhile, the IATF ID remains valid throughout the MECQ period.

READ: Duterte reverts NCR, nearby areas to MECQ beginning Tuesday, August 4

President Duterte approved on Sunday evening the reversion of some areas in the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal to MECQ which will remain in effect until August 18. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

‘No need to panic buy,’ Palace reminds public

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 3, 2020

Consumers in Metro Manila flocked to grocery stores after President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday night, approved the reversion of some areas to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) in response to the medical frontliners’ plea for a two-week “timeout”.

This prompted Malacañang on Monday to remind the public not to panic buy amid the implementation of MECQ in the National Capital Region (NCR).

“Walang dahilan para mag-panic buying. Supplies are high, delivered in supermarkets in anticipation of bigger demand prior to MECQ,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

The Palace official reiterated that only essential establishments will remain open including supermarkets, banks, and hospitals. He also said that the “time out” will be used to strengthen the government’s testing, tracing, and treatment of COVID-19.

“This is primarily to accede to the demand of the frontliners for a break. A ‘time out,'” Roque said. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

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