Metro Manila unlikely to transition to more relaxed quarantine
MANILA-- President Rodrigo Duterte will likely announce fresh community quarantine classifications on Wednesday, July 15, Malacañang said Monday as the country continues to see a spike in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.
Prevailing community quarantine restrictions are set to expire on Wednesday with a new classification expected to take effect on Thursday.
"Posible pong Miyerkoles maanunsyo ang classification dahil mayroon pa pong last meeting ang IATF (inter-agency task force) bukas po, araw ng Tuesday para sa final recommendation sa Presidente," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.
(The classification will likely be announced on Wednesday because our IATF will still have a final meeting tomorrow for their recommendations to the President.)
From July 1 to 15, only Cebu City remained under the strictest category, enhanced community quarantine, after health authorities reported a spike in COVID-19 infections in the Visayan urban hub.
Metro Manila meanwhile was placed under the more relaxed general community quarantine along with the provinces of Benguet, Cavite, Rizal, Leyte and Southern Leyte, the cities of Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Talisay, and Ormoc, and the towns of Minglanilla and Consolacion.
The rest of the Philippines was placed under modified general community quarantine, which is one step closer to the " new normal" or the full lifting of community quarantine protocols.
Areas that recorded an increase in severe and critical cases of COVID-19 over the past few days might have stricter virus restrictions, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the country's pandemic response said.
"May mga areas po na mag-escalate considering na nakita po natin na tumataas po ang ating mga severe at critical cases, at the same time yung new cases tumataas din po," he said.
(There are areas that will escalate because we saw an increase in severe and critical cases, at the same time there is also an increase generally in new cases.)
Mayors in the capital region meanwhile have recommended maintaining the status quo in terms of community quarantine restrictions, Galvez said as he noted that placing Metro Manila under a stricter lockdown would further hurt the economy which has yet to recover from the nearly 3-month lockdown.
"Nagkakaroon kasi tayo ng rebalancing ng economy tsaka health," he said in the same Palace press briefing.
(We're rebalancing the economy and health.)
With the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, Roque said it is unlikely that community quarantine protocols would be eased, particularly in Metro Manila.
"Datos po ang tinitingnan natin kung tayo ay magluluwag at siguro po at this point, the data does not indicate na puwedeng magluwag po at least sa Metro Manila," he said.
(We look at data if we can relax restrictions and at this point, the data does not indicate that we can ease virus restrictions, at least in Metro Manila.)
For July 12, the Philippines reported an additional 2,124 COVID-19 infections, bringing the total number of cases to 56,259. This includes 1, 534 deaths and 16,046 recoveries.
Of the 2,124 additional cases, 459 came from the National Capital Region, 273 from Cebu province, 71 from Laguna, 35 from Cavite and 28 from Rizal.
The NCR has been the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines. Meanwhile, Cebu province and its nearby cities have been identified as hotspots due to another spike in cases recently.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines may go past 60,000 by the end of July with 1,300 deaths, a University of the Philippines study published late June said.
Researchers projected the number of virus infections in Cebu province would be 15,000, assuming enhanced community quarantine will be in place there until July 31. If the protocols will be relaxed, it may surge to 20,000 to 30,000.