Quarantine passes will return in areas that will shift to modified enhanced community quarantine or MECQ, from August 4 to 18, the Department of Interior and Local Government said on Monday. For the first time since June, only one person per household can go out to buy essential goods.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said he discussed the quarantine passes with mayors who will enforce the requirement. Another meeting is set Monday night, on the eve of the implementation, he said.
Asked if quarantine passes are needed in MECQ areas, Año told Teleradyo: “Yes, oo, under MECQ, kailangan ng quarantine pass. (Yes, under MECQ, a quarantine pass is needed)."
“Ibabalik din ‘yung quarantine passes dyan, (Quarantine passes will also be implemented there)” he said, referring to MECQ areas Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan.
Apart from the passes, Año said checkpoints would also be put in place. This is to help minimize the number of people in public places and ensure that those leaving their homes are only out to buy essentials.
Under MECQ, mass transportation is prohibited. Only bikes, motorcycles, private cars, and private shuttle services are allowed to ply the roads. Essential businesses and services are allowed to operate on limited capacity, but those categorized as non-essential services and activities—such as salons, dine-in service, and outdoor sports—will not be allowed.
Metro Manila was originally placed under extended general community quarantine, but medical societies and frontliners called for a better response to the pandemic, as the increasing number of COVID-19 cases was overwhelming the country’s health system.
Over the weekend, President Rodrigo Duterte met with several cabinet members to evaluate the steps to be taken following the medical workers’ pleas for a “timeout.” He announced Sunday night that several areas in the country would be placed under MECQ.