Current COVID-19 enhanced community quarantine measures will be extended until May 15, covering Metro Manila and other “high-risk” areas in Luzon.
The announcement was made in a taped public address aired on Friday, based on recommendations made by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The lockdowns in Metro Manila are extended for a second time
Among the areas to be placed under extended lockdown are Metro Manila, CALABARZON, Central Luzon, Albay, Mindoro, and Catanduanes. These have been identified as having the highest risk of having an outbreak, according to the report.
The lockdowns on Pangasinan, Benguet, Tarlac, and Zambales will be subject to review after April 30. Provinces outside Luzon that have been placed under quarantine measures will likewise be assessed accordingly, including:
This is the second extension of the current Luzon-wide quarantine, enforced on March 15 and originally scheduled to be lifted on April 14.
Meanwhile, the IATF has instructed the transportation, interior, tourism, and health departments to draft guidelines on the resumption of public transportation, for areas that will be allowed to relax quarantine protocols.
The lockdown has put the brakes on public transportation
According to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, these guidelines will cover air, land, and sea travel, subject to existing measures on social distancing and isolation. For instance, public utility vehicles will no longer be allowed to carry the maximum number of passengers.
Quarantine measures have included a ban on public transportation, rendering thousands of transport workers unemployed and reliant on government dole-outs.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade previously announced that the DOTr is considering resuming bus and train operations at 30 percent capacity, in areas with low numbers of COVID-19 cases and are capable of handling future infections. Roque said that the President’s decision on the proposal is still pending.
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Joseph Paolo Estabillo