President Rodrigo Duterte has placed Metro Manila and other high-risk areas back to a modified enhanced community quarantine for 15 days effective Tuesday, August 4, 2020 amid the COVID-19 threat.
In a briefing on Sunday night, Duterte said that the National Capital Region and the provinces of Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal under the MECQ until August 18.
Duterte made the decision on Sunday night on the recommendation of the Cabinet led by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
On the proposal for a higher allowances and benefits for medical workers, Duterte also said the government will study the measure, adding they will recommend it to the pending Bayanihan 2 legislation.
The government also agreed to other recommendations made by the officials and listed at the meeting by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, including granting a P10,000 to P15,000 sickness benefit for healthcare workers with COVID-19; the issuance of work and quarantine passes to decrease the number of people going out; and more localized lockdowns.
Medical frontliners had asked for Metro Manila to return to an ECQ for two weeks to give them time to rest and "recalibrate strategies" against the disease.
In response to the health workers' plea, the Manila Archdiocese said it will “revert to the period of the ECQ protocols” and will not hold public religious activities for two weeks.
Metro Manila courts will also be physically closed from August 3 to 14, as ordered by Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta.
The order covers courts in the National Capital Judicial Region and in areas under ECQ or modified ECQ (MECQ).
The courts are mandated to be available through their respective hotline numbers, email addresses, and/or Facebook accounts as posted on the website of the Supreme Court.
The Senate, meanwhile, is also eyeing a two-week ECQ, according to sources.
Metro Manila had moved from an MECQ to a less strict general community quarantine (GCQ) on June 1 even as cases continued to rise across the national capital region and elsewhere across the country.
Being under the GCQ allowed more Metro Manila businesses to open, and more forms of public transportation to operate, albeit still at a limited capacity.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines reached six figures on Sunday, as a record 5,032 new infections pushed the total to 103,185. —JST/BM, GMA News