MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) is set to meet on Saturday, April 10 to discuss the new quarantine classification that will be imposed over Metro Manila and four other provinces next week, Malacañang said.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the announcement in a statement issued after a Cabinet meeting on Thursday.
Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna – collectively called NCR Plus – have been placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until April 11 in a bid to control the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Roque, in an online press briefing on Thursday, said the decision on whether to extend or lift the ECQ in the NCR Plus would depend on data about the healthcare utilization rate and the incidence rate of COVID-19 infections.
“Maaari naman pong ma-relax ang kasalukuyang community quarantine classification. Nakasalalay po ito sa mga indicators na ating nabanggit,” Roque said.
In the same briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they are studying the data on the COVID-19 situation in the country and whether the two-week ECQ period have been effective in slowing down the virus transmission.
“Maaari lamang po tayong makapag-shift sa mababang quarantine classification katulad ng MECQ kung makikita na po nating mas umaayos na po ang ating health system at mayroon na po tayong agarang detection at isolation,” Vergeire said.
Should the NCR Plus be placed under the less restrictive modified ECQ (MECQ), more industries will be permitted to operate and limited mass gatherings of up to 10 persons will be allowed.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier placed some areas under MECQ and general community quarantine (GCQ) for the whole month of April.
Quirino Province will be under MECQ from April 1 to 15 while Santiago City in Isabela will be under MECQ from April 1 to 30.
The areas of Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Tacloban City, Iligan City Davao City, and Lanao del Sur are under GCQ until April 30.
The rest of the country was placed under modified GCQ. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)