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Metro Manila stays under GCQ; Cebu City now also under GCQ

Metro Manila will remain under the general community quarantine (GCQ) despite the continued spike in COVID-19 cases, President Rodrigo Duterte said.

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

The rest of the Philippines will be under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Duterte reminded the public to observe precautions such as social distancing.

“Konting ingat lang. Do not mix together,” he said in a televised address on Friday, as he noted the community transmission in the National Capital Region, which accounts for the majority of the cases in the country.

"Maraming hawaan," he said.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier raised the possibility that NCR would return to modified enhanced community quarantine or stricter lockdown if the COVID-19 cases in the country reached 85,000.

However, he later said that such possibility was not a “foregone conclusion” since the case doubling time in the region improved to 8.9 days.

Earlier in his address, Duterte expressed confidence that the country will beat COVID-19 by December because of vaccines he expects from China.

"By December, we would be back to normal. By December, tapos ito lahat," he said.

Duterte said the poor will be prioritized once the vaccine is made available locally. 

For Metro Manila and CALABARZON to maintain their GCQ classification, the COVID-19 task force said the local government units must implement strict localized lockdown in barangays where 80% of cases are located and the publication of these barangays.

The other measures include 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.

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

Government hospitals in Metro Manila and CALABARZON were 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, the government’s treatment czar, was directed to monitor the compliance of hospitals in these areas and to the One Hospital Command System in NCR, Central Luzon and CALABARZON.

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

Included metrics to be submitted by LGUs are percent of close contacts traced and percent of contacts in quarantine; number of utilization of community isolation beds; met health system capacity targets utilization; and COVID Special Teams investigations and results.

The LGUs must also submit their detailed plans on the strict enforcement of minimum public health standards for priority areas/barangays.

The Philippines has logged a total of 89,374 COVID-19 cases with 65,078 recoveries and 1,983 deaths as of Thursday.  KBK, GMA News