Government imposes modified ECQ for most populous cities

Metro Manila and some of the country’s most populous cities will be placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) starting May 16, 2020. The announcement was made by Presidential Spokesperson, Harry Roque, based on recommendations by the Inter Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

Starting May 16 until May 31, 2020, Metro Manila (including the municipality of Pateros), the province of Laguna, and the City of Cebu will be placed under MECQ.

How is this different from the current Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ)? Areas under MECQ will still operate similarly to ECQ, but select industries will be allowed to reopen. In addition, certain barangays or areas in the zone can be put under either GCQ or ECQ, depending on the severity of the spread of the virus within their area.

Under the new MECQ, movement within cities is limited only to obtaining essential services and work. The industries allowed to operate are select manufacturing and processing plants but only with 50% of their workforce present. Public transportation will still be limited to essential goods and services. Classes are still suspended across all levels.

“Bubukasan po natin unti-unti ang ekonomiya. Magkakaroon po ng operasyon ang piling manufacturing and processing plants up to a maximum of 50%. Hinay-hinay, dahan-dahan, unti-unti po ang ating pagbukas ng ating ekonomiya,” said Roque.

(We’re restarting the economy slowly. Select manufacturing and processing plants can operate but up to a maximum of 50% of their workforce. Let us work slowly and carefully to revive the economy).

What specific industries will be allowed to operate under MECQ have yet to be specified. The government is still finalizing the list of those allowed to return to work in areas under MECQ.

With other countries around the world reporting high cases again upon the suspension of their lockdowns, the government is wary of lifting restrictions in order to avoid similar reinfections.