Enhanced Community Quarantine declared; affects over 36 million people
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendations of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infections Diseases (AITF-EID) to declare the strictest quarantine measures in Manila, Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal and Cavite and several other areas from 12:01 A.M. Monday until Easter Sunday, April 4,2021.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a press briefing early Saturday evening, said the idea is to keep people at home and prevent the spread for the COVID-19 virus.
While malls will remain open, the operations will be limited to supermarkets, pharmacies and hardware establishments.
“Al frescoe restaurants will no longer be allowed to operate except for take-out orders,” Secretary Roque said. He also explained religious events, especially during Holy Week, will no longer be allowed. Part of the stricter measures is the enforcement of an 11-hour curfew from 6:00 P.M. to 5:00 A.M.
Baptisms, weddings and funerals will only have a maximum of ten persons, all close relatives according to the IATF Resolution No, 106 dated March 27,2021.
The same resolution said the continued implementation of proactive measures and restrictions are imperative to slow down the surge of COVID-19 cases and stop further spread of variants and “buy time for the health system to cope, and to protect more lives.”
The resolution will limit inter-zonal mobility specifically in and out of high-transmission areas and limiting non-essential travels within the lockdowns as regional IATF/Task Forces should actively monitor, identify and address gaps in the programs’
The Departments of Labor and Employment and Trade and Industry have been tasked to inspect workplaces and establishments and provide the IATF their findings and action plans.
Asked if the week-long quarantine measures would impact on the country’s economic recovery, Secretary Roque said the timing for the restrictions was timed when least business activities as the predominantly Catholic country observes Holy Week.
“While there are business establishments that remain open from Monday to Wednesday every Holy Week, a great number of people prefer to go on leave and travel. While it may have some effect on the economy, it would be minimal,” he said.
Secretary Roque said the entire government is doing everything to keep the economy afloat because it is common knowledge that to prevent hunger, jobs need to be provided the people.
“The President knows that Filipinos value life so they exercise caution and please don’t entertain doubts on the government’s sincerity and President Duterte appreciates the people cooperation,” Mr. Roque added.
Metro Manila has a combined population of over 20 million as the other provinces included in the mega-Manila bubble, such as Bulacan with over 3 million, Rizal with 2.8 million, Cavite with over 3.6 million, Laguna with over 3.05 million while Batangas province is home to over 2.6 residents. (Melo M. Acuña)