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Philippines allows religious gatherings up to 10% of venue capacity in GCQ areas

The Philippines’ COVID-19 task force has allowed religious gatherings involving 10 people or up to 10% of the venue capacity in areas under general community quarantine, Malacañang said Friday.

The decision was made by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Infectious Diseases amid appeals to allow the partial reopening of places of worship.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the new policy will take effect on July 10.

“Magkakaroon po muna tayo ng dry run ng 10% nitong darating na mga linggo pero 'yung 10% po na allowed na ang lahat ay magsisimula po 'yan ng July 10,” he said in a televised briefing.

The areas under GCQ from July 1 to 15 are as follows:

  • National Capital Region
  • Benguet
  • Cavite
  • Rizal
  • Lapu Lapu City
  • Mandaue City
  • Leyte
  • Ormoc
  • Southern Leyte
  • Talisay City, Cebu
  • towns of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu province

The task force said the religious gathering must be limited to the conduct of religious worship and service.

There must be no objection from the local government unit and public health standards such as physical distancing, wearing of face masks and hand hygiene must be followed, it added.

Earlier, the government said areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) can hold religious gatherings up to a maximum of 50% of the worship venue capacity.

In a television interview earlier in the day, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, a member of the IATF, said 80% of the country may be placed under MGCQ by July 16 to spur economic recovery.

"Sabi nga ng DOH (Department of Health), depende pa sa mga analytics na lalabas pero more likely siguro mga 80%, mag-MGCQ na tayo sa July 16," said Lorenzana.

So far, the Philippines has 38,805 positive COVID-19 cases, with 10,673 recoveries and 1,274 deaths. --KBK, GMA News