President Rodrigo Duterte kept most of the country under the two lowest quarantine classifications, while Metro Manila and four surrounding provinces will remain under the second highest until Aug. 18, his spokesman said Saturday.
The GCQ or General Community Quarantine will be in force in Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Quezon province, Iloilo City, Cebu City, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City Talisay City, and the municipalities of Minglanilla and Consolacion, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said. The GCQ allows public transportation and work resumption in a wide range of industries.
The rest of the country will be under the lowest classification, Modified General Community Quarantine. It is the last step before the lifting of all quarantines. The GCQ and MGCQ classifications will be in effect until Aug. 31, Roque said in a televised briefing.
Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan will remain under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine or MECQ and the President will decide on Monday whether to extend or donwgrade it to a GCQ.
The current classifications allow local authorities to implement the highest form of restrictions, ECQ, in the barangay and street levels to contain local outbreaks, Roque said. Officials had said that a return to GCQ for the capital and its suburbs by Aug. 19 was likely to allow more businesses to operate.
"Walang katapusan ang ECQ dahil ang ECQ natin ngayon, localized or granular... Ang diperensiya lalo natin hihigpitan, ngayon ang hinahanbol natin mga clusters ng sakit (There is no end to the ECQ because our ECQs now are localized or granular. The difference, we will tighten it, especially now that we are running after clusters of the disease)," he said.
On Friday, total COVID-19 infections reached 153,660 including 6,216 new cases. A Social Weather Stations Survey also showed nearly 8 in 10 Filipinos believe their quality of life got worse in the last 12 months.