Over the past several months the level of liveliness in every city and municipality across the Philippines has been dictated, after a fashion, by the varying levels of community quarantine handed down by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and usually announced as executor by the President. From the severe limitations of Enhanced Community Quarantine to the near-“New Normal” state of Modified General Community Quarantine, urban areas in the country await each new periodic update on CQ status, in the hope that they could reopen more businesses to restart the economy even in the midst of COVID-19.
So it was that on the evening of Wednesday, July 15 according to Inquirer.net, President Rodrigo Duterte laid down the new community quarantine levels for the Philippines effective on Thursday, July 16 to the end of the month in July 31. The major flashpoint for these CQ announcements has been Cebu City, which had the displeasure of moving back up to Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) after being relaxed to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) for a brief time. Now, it has de-escalated one level to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) for the rest of July, the last Philippine locale with “enhanced” levels of quarantine still remaining.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque further elaborated that residents of Cebu City are still discouraged from going out except for essential necessity grocery shopping, or if belonging to any industry that has been cleared to resume operations. “Public gatherings” are also no-go, with only a maximum five people in a location (with social distancing) allowed. As for Metro Manila, once considered the epicenter of the Philippine COVID outbreak before Cebu, it will see its standing GCQ status extended to the 31st with Laguna, Cavite and Rizal.
Other notable locales under GCQ are Cebu City’s neighbors Lapu-Lapu City and Mandaue City, Ormoc City and Southern Leyte, the Mindanao cities of Zamboanga and Butuan, and provinces of Agusan Del Norte and Basilan. Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) is divided roughly into “low-risk” and those with “strict local action” (localized lockdowns for COVID-19 areas of concern). The latter include the cities of Baguio, Dagupan, Angeles, Lucena, Puerto Princesa, Naga, Iloilo, Bacolod, Tacloban, Iligan City, Davao City and General Santos, plus many neighboring provinces. Interestingly, Batanes province, recently visited by tropical depression Carina, is one of the low-risk MGCQ areas.
As of yesterday, July 15, the addition of 1,392 new positive cases of COVID-19 has driven the national total up to 58,850. Of these, 517 more patients have recovered (for 20,976 total) while 11 more have died (for 1,614 total).
Image courtesy of CNN Philippines