MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila and the provinces of Laguna and Bataan will be under the less stringent modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until the end of the month to ease an uptick in COVID-19 cases linked to the Delta variant, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Metro Manila and the province of Laguna will be under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from August 21 until August 31, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
Metro Manila’s 13 million people and nearby Laguna’s 3.3 million residents, returned to ECQ on Aug. 6. The 2 areas were last under the toughest lockdown level in April, when authorities battled a spike in infections.
The province of Bataan will also be placed under MECQ from August 23 to 31.
Dine-in services and in-person religious gatherings are still prohibited in these areas.
Independent research group OCTA earlier urged authorities to tighten the quarantine enforcement.
“May mga nababalitaan pa rin tayong nagkakaroon ng social gathering,” OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said on Thursday.
“Kapag nalusutan na natin itong Delta variant sa Metro Manila, puwede na tayong magluwag at magkaroon na tayo ng tuluy-tuloy na hanggang Pasko, iyan ang mahalaga. Pero sa ngayon, kaunting tiis lang muna,” he said in a televised public briefing.
(We have received reports of social gatherings. If we get past the Delta variant in Metro Manila, we can ease up until Christmas, that is what’s important. But for now, let’s have a little patience.)
The police have reported “thousands” of violators, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Thursday.
“Even tough we will have these very strict restrictions katulad ng ECQ, kung hindi po tayo makakakpag-comply ng safety protocols… hindi rin po magkakaroon ng success o hindi natin maa-achieve ang objectives natin,” she said in a press briefing.
(Even tough we will have these very strict restrictions like ECQ, if we will not comply with safety protocols, we will not achieve success or our objectives.)