Goodbye ECQ, GCQ: Alert Level System Goes Nationwide

So long, community quarantines.
Photo/s: Jerome Ascaño

The Philippines on Thursday is saying goodbye to community quarantines in favor of an alert-based system that attempts to avoid large-scale lockdowns, according to a national policy directive.

President Rodrigo Duterte issued an executive order for the nationwide implementation of the COVID-19 Alert Level System, which was first tested in Metro Manila in September.

The Alert Level System is a five-tier restriction system that determines how much people can move around and by how much businesses and establishments can open.

This means that the acronyms ECQ, MECQ, GCQ, MGCQ (including those with "heightened restrictions" and "some restrictions") will soon be a thing of the past, including the "tiny bubbles."

The community quarantine was first declared in March last year at the start of the pandemic and has since been established into a nationwide system that determines what's allowed and what's not in different areas.

"The nationwide shift to the Alert Level System would allow for the invigoration of the economy through the opening of more sectors, while protecting the people's health through the continuous observance of public health protocols and interventions and the heightened implementation of lockdowns in smaller areas, also known as granular lockdowns," Duterte's executive order stated.

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The nationwide implementation of the COVID-19 Alert Level System will be done in phases, with the first rollout in effect in Metro Manila and select areas.

The second phase will be implemented upon the decision of the inter-agency task force on COVID-19 response but should not be later than November based on Duterte's order.

Succeeding phases will be implemented every week thereafter.

Here are the four phases of the COVID-19 Alert Level System rollout:

Phase 1

  • Metro Manila
  • Central Luzon
  • Southern Tagalog Region
  • Western Visayas
  • Central Visayas
  • Northern Mindanao
  • Davao Region

Phase 2

  • Ilocos Region
  • Eastern Visayas

Phase 3

  • Cagayan Valley
  • Bicol Region
  • Zamboanga Peninsula

Phase 4

  • Cordillera Administrative Region
  • Southwestern Tagalog Region
  • Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao

Click here for a look back on all the community quarantines we have experienced over the past pandemic year

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