President Rodrigo Duterte has placed Quirino Province and Santiago City in Isabela under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), and has now allowed private firms to import their own COVID-19 vaccines as new infections continue to top record highs.
Duterte announced during his televised pre-recorded briefing with cabinet members on Monday night that Quirino will be under MECQ from April 1-15, and Santiago City from April 1-30.
Areas that have been placed under general community quarantine from April 1-30 are the entire Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Tacloban City, Iligan City, Davao City and Lanao del Sur.
The remaining parts of the country will be under the less restrictive modified general community quarantine from April 1 to 30.
The “NCR Plus” area — namely NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna — has earlier been placed under the most restrictive enhanced community quarantine from March 29 to April 4 as bulk of the new infections come from the region.
"Halos back to zero tayo," Duterte said as he announced the reimposition of lockdown measures in various areas.
Duterte also announced that the government is now allowing the private sector to import COVID-19 vaccines for their employees, following his announcement that the one million doses of purchased Sinovac jabs that arrived today are still intended for frontline health workers.
“We are allowing the private sector immediately to open the buying of anti-COVID vaccines, kahit saan sila makakuha. Dahil ang ating gobyerno, ‘yun lang ang binigay sa atin, limitado,” Duterte said.
He added, “I have ordered Secretary Galvez to sign any and all documents that would allow the private sector to import at will. Maski magkano, maski ilan gusto nilang ipasok,” said Duterte, who pointed out that many in the private sector would like to procure COVID-19 vaccines for their employees so the economy may be reopened.
On Monday, the Philippines logged a record-high 10,016 new COVID-19 cases, which brings the country’s total number of cases to 731,884. The country has 13,186 deaths and 603,213 recoveries.
Banner and thumbnail image by Michael Varcas/The Philippine STAR