The Philippine Government has decided to widen the scope of its imposed quarantine measures in order to curb the jump in COVID-19 infections, opting to keep current restrictions in place inside Metro Manila.
The quarantine restrictions will now be extended to the cities of Rizal, Bulacan, Laguna, and Cavite starting today (March 22) and will last until April 4.
In a virtual press briefing held on Sunday (March 21), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) decided to keep the general community quarantine (GCQ) measures in place inside Metro Manila in response to the continuous increase of COVID-19 infections, which has been approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Roque noted that the IATF converged on Saturday (March 20) to discuss the augmentation of the quarantine restrictions and the inclusion of the four provinces. He notes that new recommendations were added to existing protocols and that a new resolution has been released – all to address the surge of infected cases.
READ: Memorandum from the Executive Secretary on Additional Measures to Address the Rising Cases of COVID-19 in the Country.
“Dahil nga po sa patuloy na pagtaas ng mga kaso ng COVID-19, nagkaroon po ng emergency pagpupulong ang IATF kahapon (March 20). Nagkaroon na po ng mga bagong rekomendasyon na na-aprubahan na po ni Presidente [Rodrigo Duterte],” Roque shared during the virtual presser.
Roque says there is no lockdown, emphasizing that news circulating about an upcoming “circuit breaker” is false.
“Fake news po ‘yong sinasabi na magkakaroon daw tayo ng circuit breaker, hindi po totoo ‘yan,” he stressed.
Out of all the new cities included in the new “bubble,” only Metro Manila was under GCQ – the others were placed under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
The presidential spokesperson said entering and leaving the aforementioned areas is prohibited.
“Unang-una po, bawal po ang pagba-biyahe papunta sa Metro Manila at mga probinsya ng Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal. Bawal din po lumabas ng Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal. Magkakaroon po tayo ng parang bubble dito,” he said.
He adds that only authorized persons outside their residence (APORs) will be able to travel in and out of the zones. Despite the intensified restrictions, public transportation will not be affected.
The new measures will include the banning of indoor dining and all mass gatherings. In addition, weddings, funerals, and baptisms will be limited to 10 persons.
Those exempted from the new measures include frontline and essential workers, media personnel, government officials, emergency responders, those traveling to the airport, and returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
In the Department of Health’s latest tally on March 21, the number of daily infections jumped to 7,757, which sees the total number of active infections in the country rise to 73,072.
You can watch Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s interview with ANC’s Headstart on the matter below.
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