The National Capital Region (NCR), Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan will revert to “modified” enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) status until August 18, Malacañang announced on Sunday.
Modified ECQ for Metro anew
In a late night Sunday briefing, President Rodrigo Duterte issued the stricter quarantine measures based on recommendations from his cabinet. This was in response to members of the medical community asking for a ‘time-out’ and the re-imposition of stricter community quarantine status to recalibrate strategies against COVID-19.
“Inirerekomenda po mariin ng inyong gabinete na manumbalik po tayo sa MECQ for 15 days mula August 3 hanggang 18… in NCR and the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan,” says Health Secretary Francisco Duque during the briefing.
Beginning at midnight of Aug. 4, movement of people in NCR, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan — all considered high-risk areas — will be severely restricted under the “modified” ECQ. Existing rules on the closure of non-essential establishments, suspension of school, work, and public transportation still apply.
Public transport shut down
Due to the MECQ status of the above-mentioned areas, all forms of public transportation will be suspended while other transport options remain limited.
- Shuttle services and P2P buses will be allowed for frontline workers or employees of approved/essential industries, provided that these operate at 50 percent capacity
- Public utility vehicles (buses, jeepneys, taxis and TNVS) are prohibited
- Tricycles are prohibited but may be exempted, subject to Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and local government unit (LGU) guidelines
- For the rail sector, operations of the PNR, LRT-1, LRT-2, and MRT-3 will be suspended
- Private vehicles are allowed (up to two persons each row)
- Individual use of bicycles and motorcycles for authorized person outside residence (APOR) are allowed, back-riding is prohibited
- E-scooters are allowed, subject to existing traffic regulations
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) encourages private companies to hire or lease jeepney, buses and UV express as shuttle service. The agency says it will give employers priority in the issuance of special permits.
DILG re-imposes checkpoints and quarantine passes
Under the government’s stay-at-home orders, only the designated household member with quarantine pass may leave their home to buy food, medicine and other basic necessities, including medical emergencies.
“Mga APOR na lang ang papayagang lumabas, mga necessity at essential lang ang purpose ng paglabas, at ibabalik din ang quarantine passes,” explains Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, during a Monday morning interview at DZMM Teleradyo.
The DILG chief also confirmed the return of checkpoints in the boundaries of the MECQ areas. “Yes, oo, ibabalik natin yan (checkpoints), especially yung sa mga borders of MECQ areas. Babantayan natin ang mga borders na yan,” clarifies Sec. Año.
The record-high of 5,032 new cases on Sunday marked the fourth consecutive day with highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases reported daily. As of August 2, the DOH recorded 103,185 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 2,059 deaths and 65,557 recoveries while active cases are at 35,569.