Metro Manila, Cebu City, Laguna under ‘modified’ ECQ until May 31

Pia Ranada
(2nd UPDATE) Eight regions will be placed under GCQ, while the remaining 8 will be under no quarantine measures but must follow health protocols

CURBING THE VIRUS. Health workers prepare to bring a person suspected of having coronavirus to a quarantine facility in Tondo. Photo by KD Madrilejos/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Only 3 areas will be placed under “modified” enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from May 16 to 31 – Metro Manila, Laguna, and Cebu City. 

Malacañang said on Tuesday, May 12, that in areas under modified ECQ, local governments can allow the limited resumption of public transportation, certain industries to operate at half capacity, and persons to leave their houses only for essential goods and work. 

Eight regions will be under general community quarantine (GCQ) while the rest will not be under any quarantine at all but must follow health guidelines. This last classification is called “modified GCQ,” even if it imposes no strict quarantine or stay-at-home rules.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque announced this in a public address aired on Tuesday, May 12, after a meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Monday on the ECQ in Metro Manila and other parts of the country, which will end on May 15.

President Rodrigo Duterte approved the IATF recommendation on the classification of quarantine levels. (The resolution can be found at the end of this article.)

Below are the classifications of quarantine after May 15:

Modified ECQ (high risk)

  • Metro Manila
  • Laguna
  • Cebu City

GCQ (moderate risk)

  • Region II – Cagayan Valley (Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Santiago City)
  • Region III – Central Luzon (Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Angeles City, Olongapo City)
  • Region IV-A – Calabarzon, except Laguna (Cavite, Quezon, Rizal, Batangas, Lucena City)
  • Cordillera Administrative Region (Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Baguio City)
  • Region VII – Central Visayas, except Cebu City (Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City)
  • Region IX – Zamboanga Peninsula (Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga City, Isabela City)
  • Region XI – Davao Region (Davao City, Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental)
  • Region XIII – Caraga (Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Butuan City)

Modified GCQ (low risk) 

  • Region I – Ilocos (Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Dagupan City)
  • Region IV-B – Mimaropa (Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Palawan, Puerto Princesa City)
  • Region V – Bicol (Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, Sorsogon, Legazpi City, Naga City)
  • Region VI – Western Visayas (Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, lloilo, Negros Occidental, Iloilo City, Bacolod City)
  • Region VIII – Eastern Visayas (Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Southern Leyte, Ormoc City, Tacloban City)
  • Region X – Northern Mindanao (Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro City)
  • Region XII – Soccsksargen (North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, General Santos City)
  • Bangasamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Cotabato City)

What’s modified ECQ? Modified ECQ means there will be limited movement of people outside their houses, but just for essential work and obtaining essential goods.

Thus, there will also be limited public transportation just for such activities.

Some manufacturing and processing plants will also be allowed to open, but can only operate at 50% capacity. The specific type of industries will be finalized by the task force on Wednesday, May 13.

Physical school classes will remain suspended under modified ECQ.

But even under this new quarantine classification, areas with coronavirus cases will remain under the original version of ECQ or the ECQ “as we know it,” said Roque.

Barangays with more than 20 coronavirus cases will still be under ECQ as they are considered “critical zones.” Those with less will be under modified ECQ and are considered “containment zones”

Those barangays without any cases but are right beside barangays with cases are considered buffer zones and will be under GCQ. Those outside the buffer zones and also without any cases will be under modified GCQ. 

What was the basis for classifying areas? The government uses two indicators as basis for the classification: case doubling time (how many times it takes positive cases to double) and critical care utilization rate (percentage of isolation beds, intensive care units, and ventilators used).

Metro Manila, Laguna, and Cebu City are considered high-risk because it is so far taking the coronavirus cases less than 7 days to double in these areas. Also, more than 70% of their critical care facilities are in use. Critical care facilities refers to isolation beds, ventilators, and intensive care units.

Meanwhile, moderate-risk places are those where the case doubling time is from 7 to 30 days. They have also utilized 30% to 70% of their critical care facilities.

Low-risk areas have a case doubling time of more than 30 days – meaning the virus is not spreading as fast. They’ve also utilized less than 30% of their critical care facilities.

Status of cases in high-risk areas. Metro Manila continues to have the highest number of coronavirus cases among all regions, with over 7,000 cases. Cebu City, however, became the city with the most cases after reporting 1,571 cases on Sunday, May 10.

On Saturday, Metro Manila mayors recommended that any quarantine measure after May 15 be imposed on the entire region uniformly. Some mayors had voted for the megacity to be downgraded to GCQ.

 – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.