Palace: Some MGCQ areas to revert to ‘stricter’ quarantine measures

By Catherine S. Valente, TMT

SOME areas under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) are set to return to “stricter” quarantine measures starting July 16, Malacañang said on Wednesday, ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s expected announcement of fresh quarantine classifications.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has recommended that some areas under MGCQ be reverted to general community quarantine (GCQ).

“There are areas that will go back to stricter quarantine measures. But by and large, the Philippines will be under MGCQ, overwhelmingly,” Roque said during an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.

“I can confirm that some areas, they will go back to GCQ from MGCQ,” he added.

This came after members of the IATF met on Tuesday to discuss the imposition of new quarantine classifications nationwide beginning on Thursday.

Roque said the IATF acted on the appeals of four city governments and one provincial government on the quarantine classification in their respective localities.

He did not mention whether the appeal was to either keep or adjust the quarantine categories.

“It was acted upon by the IATF and the recommendation has been given to the President,” Roque said.

The Palace official said the Philippines has managed to rein in the threat of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as the government considered placing some areas under the so-called “new normal.”

“So, I guess, you can say that we have reined in the Covid-19 threat to the extent that we can open up to 75 percent of the economy,” Roque said.

“I think in the coming few days, we might even consider declaring some areas under the new normal. Although we hesitate to do so because we continue, we want the whole country to still be under some form of quarantine just in case there are local outbreaks,” he added.

However, relaxing the quarantine status in Metro Manila was “out of the question,” according to Roque.

“It was never considered. It was never agreed upon with the Metro Manila mayors because of the data,” he said, citing the case doubling rate and the clinical care capacity in the country’s metropolis.

Roque said the President has received the IATF’s recommendations and was expected to decide on Wednesday, the same day the current quarantine classifications in the country expire.

He said the final announcement should come from Duterte.

“I’m still not going to preempt the President. You have to wait for the President,” Roque said.

As of Tuesday, the Philippines recorded 57,545 Covid-19 cases nationwide with 1,603 fatalities and 20,459 recoveries.

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