Quarantine protocols will not likely be eased next week, the Department of Interior and Local Government said as the majority of Metro Manila mayors are also inclined to keep the region under General Community Quarantine.
“Here in Metro Manila, based on the situation we see, we should not get our hopes up that there will be an easing of quarantine,” Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a radio interview.
READ: Friday ‘fresh’ tally bloats cases to 34K
Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez, chairman of the Metro Manila Mayors Council, said GCQ will likely remain in effect until July 15.
“That is our position. But whatever the Inter-Agency Task Force will recommend, we will implement,” Olivarez said.
Senators also appealed to the government to keep Metro Manila’s GCQ status amid fears that relaxing lockdowns further will result in a surge in cases.
“Our economy is already in a very difficult situation, and many of our countrymen are going hungry because they cannot go to work and cannot resume the operations of their businesses. But at the same time, the threat of coronavirus disease infection is scary,” Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said, adding that shifting to Modified GCQ will be “very dangerous.”
“We have to be very, very careful in opening up our economy in the next few weeks,” Zubiri said.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said the GCQ is a good “middle ground” to boost economic activity while trying to arrest the spread of the pandemic.
READ: PH death rate declining but new cases up
“A GCQ set up is a good middle ground because our people can work and earn, and at the same time, we can manage the increase of positive. I would recommend by July a GCQ set-up for another 15 days,” Gatchalian said.
President Rodrigo Duterte is set to announce on or before Monday new quarantine classifications.
“There is already a recommendation but this is still subject to review by the President,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.
On Saturday, the number of COVID-19 cases reached 34,803 with 738 new infections, of which 560 are “fresh” or newly-validated cases.
Among the fresh cases, 212 are from Metro Manila, 184 are from Central Visayas, and 164 are from other areas across the country.
Metro Manila was placed under GCQ on June 1. Cebu City, on the other hand, has been placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine, the highest lockdown level, while Talisay City was put under Modified ECQ.
Malaya, for his part, appealed to Filipinos to practice individual discipline, saying the government has already done all it can to arrest the spread of the pandemic.
READ: NCR remains under general community quarantine
“The government has already done everything possible to stop the spread of COVID-19. We are one of the first countries to make face masks mandatory. We are one of the first countries to declare a lockdown. We did all we could given the situation,” he said.
“Now is the time for people to practice individual discipline. People should exercise individual responsibility – practicing social distancing and wearing of face masks. At the end of the day, we have to do all we can to beat COVID,” Malaya added.