In today’s Laging Handa press briefing, Malacañang Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that NCR, Laguna, and Cebu City will be placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) starting May 16 and until May 30, 2020.

The President approved this decision which was highlighted with classifications recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and Department of Health (DOH).

Roque mentioned during his briefing that under MECQ, there will be limited movements and slight changes compared to Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). Operations of exempted and essential businesses wil be allowed to open upon approval of IATF. There will also be limited transport services for essential and valuable workers under the MECQ;. Classes are still suspended and will follow DepEd’s previous announcement of the opening of classes on August 24

“MECQ is basically Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) but with slight changes and limitations,” Roque reiterated. The MECQ classification allows LGUs to implement lockdown areas or barangays based on different zones – Critical, Containment, Buffer, and Outside Buffer Zones.

“We must not be complacent and let’s continue to be vigilant even for those areas we identified with low-risk classification,” said Dr. Vergeire.

The new classification is based on Metro Manila council’s recommendation of one policy to IATF last Saturday.

“Hinay-hinay, dahan-dahan, at unti-unti po ang ating pagbukas,” said Roque.

Vergeire also explained different factors that summed up the announcement of new quarantine classifications (MECQ, ECQ, and GCQ) and guidelines based on the doubling COVID-19 cases and activities.  There are other considerations aside from health standards that were reviewed by IATF to impose these classifications. Vergeire made sure that communities have functional disease surveilance and isolation units for PUIs and PUMs. Other factors like security; social sector indicators for poverty, unemployment and lack of access to services from DSWD; and  economic stability are also part of the implementation of these classificatiins.

“Until we don’t have vaccines or discovered cure for this disease, the COVID-19 threat will remain and exist,” said Roque before ending the daily briefing.

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