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Palace postpones shift to GCQ, Metro Manila to remain under MECQ until Sept. 15

By Tanya Lara Published Sep 07, 2021 7:50 pm

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said today, Sept. 7, that Metro Manila will remain under the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until Sept. 15, instead of “granular lockdown” under GCQ, which was announced only yesterday.

In a Facebook post, Roque said, “The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) deferred the pilot implementation of the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with Alert Levels System in the National Capital Region (NCR). Metro Manila’s current risk classification as Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) shall be maintained until September 15, 2021, or until the pilot GCQ with Alert Level System is implemented, whichever comes first.”

Roque continued that indoor and al fresco dine-in services, personal care services such as beauty salons and nail spas will remain closed.

Only online religious services are allowed. “Immediate family members are allowed to attend necrological services, wakes, inurnment and funerals as long as the deceased died of non-COVID-19 causes. However, they need to show satisfactory proof of their relationship with the deceased and have to comply with the minimum public health standards.”

Metro Manila was put under ECQ, the strictest quarantine classification, from Aug. 6 to 20, effectively shutting down the country’s economy. According to NEDA’s figures released on Aug. 7, the Philippine economy loses P150 billion a week as Metro Manila and other areas close their commercial establishments and offices except for essential industries.

MECQ was declared in NCR from Aug. 21 and extended until Sept. 7.

The granular lockdowns announced yesterday would have allowed businesses to open except in areas with high cases of COVID-19. It was, the Palace said, a preview of the “new normal.”

On Sept. 6, the Philippines recorded its fourth straight day of 20k-plus new infections 22,415, breaching Aug. 30's all-time high of 22,366 cases in a single day.

On Sept. 7, the Department of Health (DOH) logged 18,012 new COVID cases.

Banner photo by Boy Santos/Philippine Star