'New normal' can come for some areas by October: Palace

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2020 02:51 PM | Updated as of Sep 21 2020 02:52 PM

A maintenance worker wears a face shield disinfects a door handle at a mall in Manila as protection against COVID-19 on May 16, 2020. Czar Dancel, ABS-CBN News

MANILA-- Some areas may graduate to the "new normal" by October, Malacañang said Monday as it noted the lack of COVID-19 transmission in parts of the Philippines.

Community quarantine measures for the month of October "will not be the same," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque as he teased the possible lifting of virus restrictions in some areas.

Most parts of the Philippines are under the relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) until the end of the month as the government sought to restart economic activity.

"There will be areas na mayroong zero transmission in the past month na puwede nang ideklara as under the regime of new normal," Roque said during a Palace press briefing.

(There are areas that have zero transmission in the past month that can be declared as under the regime of new normal.)

"In that sense, magkakaroon tayo ng mga bagong classification, magkakaroon tayo ng new normal aside from MGCQ," he added.

(We will have a new classification. We will have the new normal aside from MGCQ.)

The Philippines, home to over 100 million people, has continuously logged hundreds of new COVID-19 cases per day despite imposing one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world.

It observes a 4-step quarantine system, before the "new normal" with implementing minimum health standards such as wearing of face masks, face shields, and physical distancing. 

Metro Manila, the country's coronavirus epicenter is under the third strictest, or GCQ.

Adopted at the start of virus lockdowns in March, the highest is enhanced community quarantine or ECQ, followed by modified ECQ, GCQ, and MGCQ.

The MGCQ was previously touted as the transition point to the new normal or the full easing of virus restrictions.

As of Sunday, the Philippines has 286,743 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 51,894 are active infections.