Metro Manila mayors want to retain the general community quarantine or GCQ status in the capital region in February, their council head said Thursday with current classifications set to expire on Jan. 31.
Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez, who chairs the Metro Manila Council, said the further easing of restrictions could be dangerous given that the more contagious UK variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been confirmed in the Philippines.
"Ang consensus ng lahat, ng buong council, na irekomenda po sa ating IATF (inter-agency task force) na manatili po tayo sa GCQ sa darating na February," Olivarez told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
"Kung magluluwag po tayo, napakahirap na tayo ay magkaroon ng spike lalo na at paparating na yung ating vaccine," he said.
The Philippines is expecting an initial supply of COVID-19 vaccines in February as it catches up with other countries that have started their mass immunization programs.
Authorities have also been on guard against the spread of the more contagious UK variant of SARS-CoV-2, known as B.1.1.7. -- with cases reported in different parts of Luzon. The public has been repeatedly reminded to strictly observe minimum health standards such as wearing face masks and observing physical distancing to fight the spread of COVID-19.
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Quarantines in the Philippines have been in place since mid-March 2020. GCQ is the second-lowest in a four-step classification system. Most of the country however is under modified general community quarantine or MGCQ, one notch lower.