Metro Manila stays under GCQ, Cebu City reverts to strictest ECQ

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 16) — The general community quarantine in Metro Manila will be extended, while restrictions will be tightened in Cebu City as it is placed under enhanced community quarantine from June 16 to 30, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Monday.

President Rodrigo Duterte issued the new directives after he approved the recommendation of the COVID-19 national task force.

"We are gradually easing restrictions to make way for our economic viability as individuals and as a nation, but it does not mean that we will forget our minimum health standards," he said in a taped address which aired late Monday night.

Officials have noted a downtrend in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, while infections continue to rise in Central Visayas, in particular Cebu City.

Cebu City has emerged as the epicenter of the outbreak in the Visayas with 3,361 COVID-19 cases, as of June 12.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said their decision to "escalate" Cebu City from GCQ to ECQ was due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the city and widespread community transmission.

A special adviser to the National Task Force on COVID-19 noted Tuesday that medical directors and experts from private hospitals in Cebu City informed authorities that intensive care units are full, mechanical ventilators are unavailable, and isolation beds are maxed out.

“Their critical care utilization rate is at full capacity,” Dr. Tony Leachon told CNN Philippines’ New Day.

Leachon added the government is buying time to improve the healthcare system in the city.

“With increasing cases, we assume the hospitals will be overwhelmed and we don’t (want) that to happen,” he said.

He added the government should work with the private sector so the ‘acute rise in cases’ in the city could be ‘prevented and stopped.’

Meanwhile, Talisay City, a component city under Cebu province, will be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine until June 30.

The following areas will be under GCQ until June 30: Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Santiago City in Region II; Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Tarlac, Olongapo City in Region III; Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, and Occidental Mindoro in Region IV-A. For Visayas, Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City in Region VII are placed under GCQ. For Mindanao, Davao City and Zamboanga City in Mindanao are under GCQ.

The rest of the country remains under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) until June 30.

There are a total of 26,420 COVID-19 infections in the country, with a total of 6,252 recoveries and 1,098 deaths.