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ECQ is Back in Metro Manila, Nearby Provinces Due to COVID Surge

It's 2020 all over again.
by Arianne Merez
Mar 27, 2021
Photo/s: Jerome Ascaño

(UPDATE) Millions in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces on Saturday hunkered down for a fresh lockdown or ECQ from Monday, March 29 to Sunday, April 4, as authorities moved to cap a worrying surge in COVID-19 cases.

The Enhanced Community Quarantine covers the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal. The government placed the said areas under a GCQ Bubble last March 22. In four of the last seven days, however, the Philippines reported all-time high new cases.

EXPLAINER: What is ECQ, What to Expect From 2021 ECQ 

"Ito po ay epektibo sa Lunes, March 29 at tatagal hanggang a-kwatro ng Abril," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

"Sa madaling salita, homeliner po tayo ulit. Sa bahay po tayo except kung magtatrabaho tayo sa bukas na industriya, kung tayo ay APOR at para kumuha ng mga necessities gaya ng mga pagkain at gamot," he added.

On Friday, nearly 10,000 new infections were confirmed and active cases breached the 100,000-mark. It was also around the same time in 2020 that Metro Manila and several urban areas were placed under ECQ.

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Under the new guidelines, limited industries offering essential services or selling basic goods will be allowed to operate at full capacity while other industries will be allowed to operate at limited capacities.

Work-from-home setups are encouraged and only authorized persons outside of residence and those 18 years old up to age 65 can go out. Travel passes are not needed.

Public transportation will remain operational at limited capacity, Roque said. Mass gatherings, including religious ones are prohibited.

For food establishments, only deliveries and take-out are allowed. Any form of dining-in, even al fresco, is prohibited, Roque said.

Roque  also appealed to authorities not to bar the travel of cargo so as to ensure ample supply of food in the greater Manila area.

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Contact tracing will be enhanced during the ECQ period, Roque said, noting the need to trace and isolate 95% of close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The Palace mouthpiece assured the public that the government is working out efforts to provide aid to Filipinos covered by the lockdown who cannot go to work.

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