• Melo Acuna

Lockdown stays until May 15 for NCR, Regions III and IV-A, several areas

President Duterte extends lockdown until May 15

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendations of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases after a long meeting that lasted until Thursday night.

In a nationwide television address aired at 8:00 A.M. Friday, President Duterte said the Enhanced Community Quarantine (EQC) will be extended until May 15 and will cover the most populous parts of Luzon, the National Capital Region, Region III or Central Luzon and Region IV-A or CALABARZON and other high-risk areas.

Provinces considered high-risk in Region III are Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Pampanga while the provinces in Region IV identified as high-risk are Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Quezon.

Meanwhile, provinces in Region IV-B or MIMAROPA considered high-risk are the two Mindoro provinces, Oriental and Occidental while Albay and Catanduanes are listed high-risk provinces in Region V or Bicol Region. Benguet in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Pangasinan in Region I and Tarlac and Zambales in Region III but may change by April 30.

In the Visayas, the IATF considered the provinces of Antique, Iloilo, Cebu and Cebu City high-risk and will be subjected to re-evaluation, while Aklan and Capiz which are both subject to Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). In Mindanao, Davao del Norte and Davao City have been considered high-risk while Davao Oriental is subject to ECQ and up for reevaluation.

High-risk areas will be under ECQ until May 15 and will be up for further evaluation. Moderate-risk areas meanwhile will be under general community quarantine until May 15 and will be subjected to evaluation. Low-risk areas will fall under general community quarantine until May 15 and should there be no deterioration, GCQ will be relaxed leading to normalization.

The IATF recommended a minimum health standard to be implemented beginning April 27 while the Departments of Health, Transportation, Trade and Industry, Labor and Employment and Public Works and Highways will prepare the guidelines by April 25.

Areas earlier under Enhanced Community Quarantine but remain under GCQ will allow workers to go out and work in phases. Young people, senior citizens and high health risk would stay at home.

For GCQ areas, restricted mall opening covering non-leisure shops would be allowed as mandatory temperature check, mandatory wearing of masks and mandatory alcohol use will be required. Limited number of people, those from 21 to 59 with ID and not looking sickly would be allowed inside.

Priority and essential construction projects would be likewise allowed to resume, subject to minimum health standards, physical distancing, and barracks for workers. Public transport modes would likewise be allowed to operate at reduced capacity. Local government units would enforce curfew at night for non-workers.

It was learned the decision on the CQ and GCQ were based on the risk of outbreak as areas under ECQ would again undergo evaluation if the decision can be relaxed starting May 16,2020. (Melo M. Acuña)

President Rodrigo Duterte during his nationwide television address aired this morning at 8:00 A.M. (Screen grab from PTV4)

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