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Non-essential travel banned into, from NCR, Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan, Laguna

The banning of non-essential travel into and from Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna were among the sterner COVID-19 restrictions President Rodrigo Duterte approved for the capital region and its surrounding areas.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Sunday endorsed the implementation of the new regulations, which were prompted by the surge in cases, on the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal from Monday, March 22, until April 4, 2021.

On top of the general community quarantine (GCQ), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the following restrictions will be put in place in these areas:

  • Only individuals aged 18 to 65 will be allowed outside. Those aged below 18 and over 65, and those with health risks, pregnant, or with immunodeficiencies are required to remain in residences. Person over 65 may be allowed outside for non-contact sports and outdoor exercise. Persons with disability may likewise be allowed outside, but also for therapy upon the presentation of a prescription or a PWD ID.
  • Only essential travel in and out of the areas will be allowed. Public transportation will be operational, subject to guidelines of the Department of Transportation (DOTr). The use of active transportaion, such as bicycles, shall be promoted.
  • Visiting other households is strongly discouraged. Wearing of face masks is encouraged even at home.
  • Common curfew to be imposed from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Workers, cargo vehicles, and public transportation exempted.
  • All mass gatherings, including religious gatherings, will be prohibited. Face-to-face meetings are highly discouraged, virtual meetings encouraged.
  • Weddings, baptisms, and funeral services limited to 10 persons.
  • Operational capacities of essential and non-essential services/industries will be maintained, subject to safety protocols and minimum public health standards, with 30-50% operational or on-site capacity where applicable. Personal care service establishments are limited to 50% of venue capacity.
  • Dine-in restaurants, cafes, and establishments limited to delivery. Take-out and al fresco dining allowed. However, engineering and administrative controls, such as dividers, limiting diners to two per table sitting diagonally and a seat apart, is required for al fresco dining. Also, al fresco dinning is limited to 50% of capacity.
  • Driving schools, traditional cinemas, video, and interactive game arcades, libraries, archives, museums, and cultural centers, limited social events at DOT-accredited establishments temporarily suspended. Open-air tourist attractions exempted.
  • Cockfighting and cockpit operations suspended under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Also, authorized persons outside of their residences would be limited to:

  • essential workers, who would need to show their work ID
  • health and emergency frontline services personnel
  • government officials and government frontline personnel
  • duly-authorized humanitarian assistance actors
  • persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons
  • persons going to the airport for travel abroad
  • anyone crossing zones for work or business and going back home, and
  • ROFS and OFWs

Meanwhile, the IATF also directed the Department of the Interior and Local Government to ensure that all local governments enforce isolation and quarantine measures, and minimum public health standards.

Specifically, LGUs were instructed to:

  • distribute face masks and shields, especially to the vulnerable sectors, with the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams and other barangay officials to monitor and ensure compliance of households, and
  • implement other alternative working arrangements, with the Labor Department and Trade Department to monitor compliance of workplaces to minimum health standards.

LGUS were also instructed to activate the following surge responses:

  • actively find cases in barangays with the highest cases using the Coordinated Operations to Defeat the Epidemic visits
  • increase and improve facility based quarantine and isolation through Oplan Kalinga
  • ensure appropriate patient care navigation through the use of One Hospital Command Center,  Oplan Kalinga, and local government unit call centers with referral of mild and moderate cases to available temporary treatment and monitoring facilities
  • Increase dedicated beds to surge capacity {30% for private and 50 % for public) to increase health system capacity.

The measures were signed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles on Saturday, March 20 when the Philippines reported 7,999 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 its highest daily tally to date. This brings the total to 656,056 which includes 80,642 active cases; 562,484 recoveries; and 12,930 deaths. — DVM, GMA News