Cebu and Mandaue cities still under ECQ, five more areas under MECQ

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 16) — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the last-minute recommendation of the inter-agency task force to place the cities of Cebu and Mandaue in Cebu province under enhanced community quarantine until May 31, his spokesman said Saturday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque also confirmed in a text message to CNN Philippines that the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and Zambales will be under a more relaxed modified ECQ until the end of May.

Other areas under modified ECQ are Metro Manila and Laguna. Cebu City, which has a total of 1,544 COVID-19 cases, was earlier placed in the category prior to Saturday's announcement.

The rest of the country is now under the more relaxed general community quarantine.

READ: COVID-19 cases in PH rise to 12,305

Daily life under ECQ

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes thanked the inter-agency task force for considering their appeal to stay under ECQ. He made the request earlier this week, along with the city governments of Cebu and Lapu-Lapu.

Cortes, however, told CNN Philippines that it was “unfortunate” Lapu-Lapu City was left behind. The city, which has 58 recorded COVID-19 cases, is separated from the main island of Cebu by the narrow Mactan Channel.

Cortes said they are planning to enforce strict border controls to prevent infected people from entering the city, along with a 24-hour curfew where only essential workers will be allowed outside their homes.

Under the ECQ, only those rendering vital services and buying essential goods are allowed to leave their homes. Mass transport is suspended.

Mandaue has 100 COVID-19 cases, 84 of whom are inmates of the Mandaue City Jail.

Metro Manila, 6 provinces under MECQ

Modified quarantine guidelines allow select manufacturing and processing plants to reopen at half of their capacity, giving workers the opportunity to return to work after two months under lockdown.

Malls and commercial centers can also reopen but only for non-leisure stores.

LIST: Businesses allowed to reopen in Metro Manila, areas under modified ECQ by May 16

The task force also said that heightened presence of uniformed personnel "becomes less necessary."

LIST: What daily life would be like in areas under modified ECQ, GCQ

The task force said the decision was made after data on updated case number and health system capacity have been validated "in consideration of the appeals of the local governments."

Public transport is still suspended in areas under modified ECQ though some cities, including Pasig and Marikina, have given tricycles the green light to resume operations, but subject to social distancing and other health protocols.