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  • Palace Says General Community Quarantine Will Be The New Normal When ECQ Is Lifted

    Guidelines are more relaxed but it will still be different than life before COVID-19.
    by Kitty Elicay .
Palace Says General Community Quarantine Will Be The New Normal When ECQ Is Lifted
PHOTO BY Jerome Ascano
  • Even if the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is lifted in Metro Manila on May 15, don’t expect things to go back to the way they were before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, the general community quarantine (GCQ) currently being enforced in low-risk areas will be the new normal, according to Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

    In an interview with DZMM on Sunday, April 26, 2020, Roque said that the Philippines will not be able to return to ‘normal’ because of the effects brought by the pandemic. “We are no longer back to normal as we know it po. The GCQ is already that, it is the new normal. For as long as there is still no vaccine, we cannot go back to normal as we know it,” he said.

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    General community quarantine guidelines

    Unlike the strict measures being implemented in Metro Manila, areas under GCQ have a more relaxed set of guidelines. According to a report by CNN Philippines, this includes the following:

    • Some workers and industries will be allowed to resume work, including:
      • Companies in electronics, exports, manufacturing, e-commerce, delivery, repair services, maintenance and housing may resume full operations provided they observe minimum health standards such as physical distancing
      • Companies in finance, business process outsourcing (BPO), and non-leisure trade and services are recommended to send half of their employees on site, while the rest should work at home
    • Schools, amusement centers, leisure facilities, gaming, and tourism services must remain closed
    • Non-leisure shops are allowed to open, but malls should limit entry of shoppers and implement mandatory temperature check. Use of masks and alcohol is mandatory as well.
    • Individuals below 20 years old, senior citizens (60 years old and above), and those with high-risk health issues are not allowed to leave their house
    • Institutions of higher education may resume classes
    • Full operations are recommended for agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food manufacturing and all supply chains, including ink, packaging and raw materials, supermarkets, hospitals, logistics, water, energy, Internet, telecommunications, and media
    • Priority construction projects can resume
    • Non-workers except for those mentioned above, are allowed to go out to buy food and other essential services
    • Public transport can operate at reduced capacity
    • Curfew for nonworkers shall be enforced by local government units
    • Airports and ports can only operate for the unhampered delivery of goods 
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    According to a report by Inquirer.net, these guidelines are yet to be finalized by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in time for the GCQ implementation on May 1. “The guidelines will be approved today (April 27), and we will discuss it tomorrow,” said Roque.

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    Currently, the areas where GCQ will be implemented are as follows:

    • Apayao
    • Mountain Province
    • Ifugao
    • Kalinga
    • Ilocos Sur
    • Batanes
    • Quirino
    • Aurora
    • Palawan
    • Romblon
    • Camarines Norte
    • Sorsogon
    • Masbate
    • Guimaras
    • Bohol
    • Biliran
    • Eastern Samar
    • Leyte
    • Northern Samar
    • Southern Leyte
    • Zamboanga del Norte
    • Zamboanga Sibugay
    • Bukidnon
    • Camiguin
    • Davao Occidental
    • Sarangani
    • Agusan del Sur
    • Dinagat Island
    • Surigao del Norte
    • Surigao del Sur
    • Agusan del Norte
    • Basilan
    • Sulu
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    Other provinces that are already under GCQ, but still subject for review include:

    • Abra
    • Ilocos Norte
    • La Union
    • Cagayan
    • Isabela
    • Nueva Vizcaya
    • Marinduque
    • Camarines Sur
    • Aklan
    • Capiz
    • Samar
    • Zamboanga del Sur
    • Lanao del Norte
    • Misamis Occidental
    • Misamis Oriental
    • North Cotabato
    • South Cotabato
    • Maguindanao

    President Rodrigo Duterte earlier extended the ECQ in Metro Manila and other "high-risk provinces" until May 15 to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

    The Department of Education is also finalizing its plans for the new school year. Click here to know when they are planning to resume classes.

    For the latest news and updates on COVID-19, check out reportr.world/covid-19.

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