LIST: Areas Under ECQ, GCQ Until May 15; September Class Opening Recommended
The decision to extend the enhanced community quarantine in some areas and place others under general community quarantine were based on the risk of outbreak.
President Duterte approved the following recommendations of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases submitted to him on Thursday, April 23 to extend the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in some areas and place others under general community (GCQ) until May 15 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The decision was based on the risk of the outbreak in these areas. The ECQ was imposed over the whole of Luzon on March 17 and was supposed to last until April 15 but Duterte and the IATF decided to extend until April 30.
As the number of COVID-19 cases continued to rise in some areas, the IATF recommended that ECQ be extended until May 15 while those facing moderate and low risks will be placed under GCQ.
The decision was expected to be announced on Thursday as announced by former presidential assistant and now Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, but it was instead done at 8 a.m. today, April 24 as advised by presidential spokesman Harry Roque.
Duterte met with former health secretaries and other experts on Monday to help him determine whether the ECQ in Luzon could already be lifted.
Peace adviser and chief implementer of the National Action Plan on COVID-19 crisis Carlito Galvez Jr. explained the ECQ in Metro Manila must be continued because it has been classified as the epicenter of the outbreak.
He said the decision to extend or modify the quarantine in the different areas was reached based on the density of the population, capacity to test and the preparation or availability of quarantine areas.
High-risk areas under Code Red and covered by the extended ECQ until May 15, 2020 are the following:
• National Capital Region
• Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon (Calabarzon)
• Benguet (may change by April 30, 2020)
• Pangasinan (may change by April 30, 2020)
• Nueva Ecija
• Tarlac (may change by April 30, 2020)
• Zambales (may change by April 30, 2020)
• Oriental Mindoro
• Occidental Mindoro
• Antique (for re-checking)
• Iloilo (for re-checking)
• Aklan (for re-checking)
• Capiz (for re-checking)
• Cebu (for re-checking)
• Cebu City (for re-checking)
• Davao Del Norte (for re-checking)
• Davao City (for re-checking)
• Davao De Oro (formerly Compostela Valley, for re-checking)
Note: As per IATF, Panay Island is under extended ECQ because there may be low incidents in Aklan and Capiz but high in Iloilo and Antique.
The codes used – red, orange, yellow and green – are based on the doubling rate of cases and the risks of outbreak.
Moderate-risk areas under GCQ from May 1 until May 15, 2020 (Code Orange, subject to evaluation)
• Ilocos Norte
• La Union
• Nueva Vizcaya
• Camarines Sur
• Western Samar
• Zamboanga Del Sur
• Lanao Del Norte
• Misamis Occidental
• Misamis Oriental
• North Cotabato
• South Cotabato
Moderate-risk areas under GCQ from May 1 until May 15, 2020 (Code Yellow)
• Negros Occidental
• Negros Oriental
• Davao Del Sur
• Davao Oriental
• Sultan Kudarat
• Lanao Del Sur
Low-risk areas under GCQ from May 1 until May 15, 2020 (Code Green)
• Mt. Province
• Ilocos Sur
• Camarines Norte
• Eastern Samar
• Northern Samar
• Southern Leyte
• Zamboanga del Norte
• Zamboanga Sibugay
• Davao Occidental
• Agusan Del Sur
• Dinagat Islands
• Surigao Del Norte
• Surigao Del Sur
• Agusan Del Norte
According to Roque, the status may change in some areas depending on the risk of the outbreak and evaluation of the government.
GCQ imposed on low-risk areas until May 15, if there is no deterioration, will be relaxed leading to normalization.
The IATF likewise recommended a minimum health standard to be implemented starting April 27. The Department of Health, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Public Works and Highways will prepare the guidelines by April 25.
In areas under extended ECQ, stringent quarantine measures will remain; public transportation services are still suspended and only essential businesses and services are allowed to operate.
Workers in areas previously under ECQ but remain under GCQ will be allowed to go out and work in phases. Young people, senior citizens and others facing high health risks must stay at home despite relaxed quarantine measures starting May 1.
For GCQ areas, restricted mall opening covering non-leisure shops will also be allowed. There will be mandatory temperature check, mandatory wearing of masks, mandatory alcohol use. Limited number of people, particularly those aged 21 to 59, with identification cards or IDs and not looking sickly, will be allowed to go inside.
Priority and essential construction projects will likewise be allowed to resume, subject to minimum health standards, physical distancing, and barracks for workers.
Public transport modes will be allowed to operate at reduced capacity. Local government units will enforce curfew at night for non-workers.
Roque said the IATF also recommended the 100 percent closure of all schools even in high- to low-risk areas as the transmitters of the virus are those aged zero to 20. “Lahat ng eskwelahan, i-consider po ang late opening sa Setyembre except po sa online learning."
Aside from schools, other sectors that should remain closed are: leisure, amusement, gaming, fitness, “kid” industry, tourism and all gatherings, including religious, conferences, et cetera.
The IATF also said the funds for Social Amelioration Program for the GCQ areas must be reprioritized or diverted to those under extended ECQ. So far, more than five million have received the cash subsidies of P5,000 to P8,000 out of the 18 families targeted by the government.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, vice-chairman of the National Task Force, warned local officials against unilaterally declaring their areas under ECQ because this might have cause problems in social amelioration programs for the affected sectors.
For GCQ areas, the IATF said allowing the school year to finish and give credentials to students of higher education institutions must be considered.
For ECQ and GCQ areas, all airports and seaports may be opened for movement of goods only.
In moderate- to low- risk areas under GCQ, the following industries under Category 1 may be opened fully or 100 percent as per the IATF: agriculture, fishery, forestry, food manufacturing and its entire supply chain (including ink, packaging, raw materials, et cetera), food retail (supermarket, market, restaurants for takeout and delivery only), healthcare (hospitals, clinics, drugstores), logistics, water, energy, internet, telecommunications, and media.
For 50 percent to 100 percent opening or Category 2: other manufacturing, like electronics and exports, e-commerce and delivery for essential and non-essential items, repair and maintenance services, housing and office services.
Category 3 (50 percent on site and 50 percent work from home): financial services, business process outsourcing or BPO, other non-leisure services, other non-leisure wholesale and retail trade.
Philippine offshore gaming operators or POGOs and other forms of gambling are not allowed even in areas under GCQ being under amusement and leisure company, Roque said on Sunday, April 26.
For Build, Build, Build and other infrastructure projects, trade off between allowing to operate or remain closed was underscored by the task force. It said the advantage of allowing construction activities is that there is less traffic and speed up completion of BBB projects.
However, the task force noted there is risk of virus transmission as most workers are “migrants”
Other countries define essential projects in the construction sector, which Philippines can adopt, the IATF said. These include sewage, water works, health facilities and digital works.