On Feb. 19, it was announced that nine out of 17 Metro Manila mayors support a shift to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). The less restrictive quarantine means easing majority of COVID-19 restrictions, except for the wearing of face masks and face shields.
The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has also backed the recommendation to shift to the less restrictive MGCQ. Aside from Metro Manila, the IATF said the entire country will be placed under MGCQ starting Mar. 1, said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
“Inaasahan naman natin dahil mayroon nang ganitong kasunduan sa panig ng IATF at Metro Manila mayors ay baka naman po sumang-ayon na ang Presidente,” added Roque.
“A short-sighted, desperate move”
Non-profit research group Ibon Foundation however stated its reservation on the shift, citing the trend of increasing cases and the potential spread of new COVID-19 variants.
“Lifting COVID-related restrictions to boost the economy is a short-sighted and desperate move amid continuing failure to contain the pandemic,” said Ibon.
The group also added that “easing restrictions will not spur recovery without a real fiscal stimulus, while risking the more rapid spread of COVID-19.”
The OCTA Research group also advised against the nationwide shift to MGCQ, citing the risk of an uptick in cases in Metro Manila.
“If restrictions in NCR are relaxed to very loose levels, the region will be under a constant threat of a surge due to the increased mobility of people, reduced social distancing and diminished compliance with health protocols, as was observed at the outset of the December holidays,” said the research group.