EXPLAINER: What's modified ECQ and modified GCQ?

The Philippine government has introduced a new form of quarantine to save economies of urban hubs with high numbers of coronavirus cases.

This is the "modified enhanced community quarantine" that will be enforced only in Metro Manila, Laguna, and Cebu City from May 16 to 31. (To know what form of quarantine your province or city is under, check here.)

This term was introduced by Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque in a press briefing on Tuesday, May 12. 

He also introduced the term "modified general community quarantine" which will be observed in "low-risk" provinces and cities. Despite the label, it doesn't entail any strict stay-at-home measures. But it does require the continuance of health guidelines like mask-wearing, physical distancing, and frequent handwashing.

Here's what we know so far about these terms.

Who can go out?

  • Modified ECQ: People will be allowed to leave their homes only to obtain essential goods and go to work in industries allowed to resume by the government. 
  • GCQ: People will be allowed to move around for work and essential services in barangays without coronavirus cases.
  • Modified GCQ: Movement goes back to normal but mask-wearing, physical distancing, and other health protocols will be enforced.

What kind of industries can operate?

  • Modified ECQ: Essential industries allowed under ECQ will continue to be allowed like health care, pharmacies, veterinary clinics, food manufacturing and supply chains, and groceries. But there will be an addition to these allowed industries – certain manufacturing and processing plants. The final list will be announced by the task force on Wednesday. These plants should operate at only 50% capacity. Government offices also resume work at 50% capacity.

The full list is below, in the May 13 presentation of Roque:

  • GCQ: Government offices and more industries and establishments can operate at a maximum of 75% capacity.
  • Modified GCQ: Work resumes in private and public sector at 100% capacity but with enforcement of mask-wearing, physical distancing, and other health protocols.

How about transportation? 

  • Modified ECQ: Transportation will be allowed but only for essential work and services.
  • GCQ: Transportation services to resume only for government work and allowed industries.
  • Modified GCQ: Public transportation resumes but with health protocols observed.

How about school?

  • Modified ECQ: Physical classes can't resume yet.
  • GCQ: Flexible learning arrangements that include physical classes in a limited manner will be allowed.
  • Modified GCQ: Normal physical classes may resume with health protocols enforced.

Zoning scheme under modified ECQ

The government also introduced a zoning scheme that will be implemented by local government chiefs in Metro Manila, Laguna, and Cebu City.

In this scheme, barangays with coronavirus cases will still be under the original ECQ. Those with 20 or more cases are considered "critical zones" and will be under ECQ or hard lockdowns.

Those with less cases are considered "containment zones" and will be under modified ECQ.

Barangays or clusters of barangays adjacent to any area with COVID-19 cases are "buffer zones" where GCQ will be enforced. Barangays outside a buffer zone will be on modified GCQ. 

The task force left it up to provincial governors and mayors to decide on the zoning classification of their barangays. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.