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Metro Manila, Cebu City remain under GCQ; rest of PH stays at MGCQ

Filipinos stranded due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions cram inside a baseball stadium for a government transportation program that while transport them back to their provinces, in Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, Manila, Philippines, July 25, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

Metro Manila and Cebu City, two of the areas with the biggest spike in COVID-19 cases, will remain under general community quarantine (GCQ), President Rodrigo Duterte said Friday.

Apart from the two, Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Minglanilla and Consolacion towns in Cebu province, and Zamboanga City will also be under GCQ from August 1 to 15, 2020.

Meanwhile, the rest of the country will be under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

In the same address, the President expressed confidence that the country will finally beat the deadly virus by December as he expects the vaccine from China to be available soon.

“By December, we would be back to normal. By December, tapos ito lahat,” Duterte said, noting that the poor will be prioritized once the vaccine is made available in the market.

As of Thursday, the Philippines logged 89,374 cases of coronavirus with 1,983 deaths and 65,064 recoveries.

“Para ma-shorten ang purgatory ninyo. Kasi kung maghawaan na naman ito, walang katapusa,” he added.

Strictly localized lockdown

In order to keep Metro Manila and CALABARAZON’s GCQ classification, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the National Task Force, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic Teams must implement a strictly localized lockdown in barangays where 80% of cases are located and the publication of these barangays.

“Also part of the measures are stringent enforcement of minimum health standards, massive targeted testing, intensified tracing, and quarantine of close contacts, isolation of confirmed cases, and strict adherence to Oplan Kalinga implementation,” Roque said.

Under Oplan Kalinga, local health officials go house-to-house, searching for mild and asymptomatic cases that will later be transferred to isolation facilities.

Also, government hospitals in Metro Manila and Region IV-A have been directed to increase their hospital beds dedicated to COVID-19 up to 30-50% while private hospitals are enjoined to increase their hospital beds dedicated to COVID-19 up to 20-30%.

“Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, also the NTF Treatment Czar, is directed to monitor the compliance of hospitals in these areas and to the One Hospital Command System in NCR, Region III, and Region IV-A,” he noted.

Roque said local government units will also have to submit daily updates and weekly comprehensive reports containing daily trends of active cases, number and percent of the population; cases in community isolation facility versus health facility versus home for priority areas or barangays under localized lockdown.

LGUs should submit the percent of close contacts traced and percent of contacts in quarantine; a number of utilization of community isolation beds; met health system capacity targets utilization; and COVID Special Teams investigations and results.

They must submit their detailed plans on the strict enforcement of minimum public health standards for priority areas/barangays, Roque said.

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