Rodrigo Duterte

Palace warns of return to MECQ if COVID-19 cases continue to rise in NCR

Lian Buan

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President Rodrigo Duterte extends general community quarantine in the capital region until the end of July

Malacañang on Wednesday, July 15, warned that government could place Metro Manila under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) if coronavirus cases continue to rise in the capital region in the next two weeks.

Malinaw po sa diskuyon na kapag hindi pa rin po napabagal ang pagkalat ng COVID-19 sa Metro Manila, posible pong bumalik sa MECQ pagkatapos po nitong dalawang linggo,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said late night Wednesday.

(It’s clear in the discussions that if we do not slow down the spread of COVID-19 in Metro Manila, it’s possible to return to MECQ after two weeks.)

Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte initially agreed to place the National Capital Region under MECQ, upon the recommendation of experts from the University of the Philippines.

But after appeals, Duterte decided to extend general community quarantine (GCQ) for the next two weeks.

Roque said it was the generals – Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año – who convinced the President to keep Metro Manila under GCQ, citing the commitment of mayors.

Nangako ang ating mga mayor sa Metro Manila na paiigtingin pa nila ang kanilang localized lockdown, palalakasin nila ang testing, tracing, and treatment, at ipatutupad ng mas malawakan ang mga restriction sa GCQ, so pumayag muna ang ating Presidente na huwag munang ibalik ang Metro Manila sa MECQ sa susunod na dalawang linggo,” said Roque.

(Metro Manila mayors promised to intensify their localized lockdown, strengthen testing, tracing, and treatment, and implement restrictions more widely, so the President agreed not to return Metro Manila to MECQ for at least the next 2 weeks.)

There are now 58,850 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Philippines. The single-day increase went back to more than a thousand on Wednesday, with 1,392 new cases.

Cebu City, meanwhile, is eased into MECQ. It is the only area under MECQ in the country.

Other areas under GCQ are:

  • Laguna
  • Cavite
  • Rizal
  • Lapu Lapu City
  • Mandaue City
  • Ormoc City
  • Southern Leyte
  • Zamboanga City
  • Butuan City
  • Agusan del Norte
  • Basilan

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.