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NCR, nearby provinces back to MECQ for 2 weeks. What can we do and not do in MECQ again?

NCR, nearby provinces back to MECQ for 2 weeks. What can we do and not do in MECQ again?

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In a late-night address yesterday, Aug. 2, President Rodrigo Duterte heeds the medical community’s plea to reimpose strict lockdown protocols in Metro Manila—the country’s COVID-19 hotspot—as cases hit 100,000 mark this Sunday.

Starting tomorrow, Aug. 4 until Aug. 18, Metro Manila, Laguna, Rizal, Cavite and Bulacan will be under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), from its previous general community quarantine (GCQ) classification.

Under MECQ, classified as containment zone, movement is limited within the respective zone and only for obtaining essential services and work. The operation of select manufacturing and processing plants within this area is only allowed up to a maximum of 50 percent workforce. Sectors allowed to open in MECQ are limited to business process outsourcing (BPO), banking institutions and capital markets (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Securities and Exchange Commission, etc.). Physical classes are also restricted.

But one big drawback to returning to a stricter lockdown is limiting of transport options. According to a recent release by the Department of Transportation, public transport will be limited to free public shuttles provided by national and local governments for workers. This means no more trains, buses, jeepneys, taxis, transport network vehicle services (TNVS) or tricycles.

Private modes of transport are still allowed but with stricter restrictions. Company shuttles with only 50 percent capacity should still be able to ferry workers. Private vehicles for persons in permitted sectors should have a maximum of two people per row. Riding in pairs is prohibited again on motorcycles, while bikes and e-scooters should only carry one person.

Likewise, only authorized persons outside of residence (APOR) with proper ID will be allowed to travel within city limits.

Over the weekend, the Philippine College of Physicians supported by over 40 medical groups in the country wrote the president urging him to bring Metro Manila back to ECQ citing burnout among their ranks from the rising COVID-19 toll.

However, Duterte said government cannot fully shut down businesses through the imposition of ECQ because “wala na tayong pera.”


Header photo courtesy of Niño Jesus Orbeta/Inquirer

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