Metro Manila eases to GCQ on June 1

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 28) — Metro Manila will transition to a more relaxed general community quarantine or GCQ from June 1, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday.

Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) to downgrade the quarantine restrictions over the country's capital region — which is now deemed as a "high-to-moderate-risk area."

"We are not happy to put you in this place, but after review, maybe we can," Duterte said in an address to the nation aired Thursday night.

This is also in line with the recommendation of all 17 mayors of the National Capital Region to shift from modified enhanced community quarantine to a more relaxed GCQ to allow more nonessential businesses to reopen in the hopes of restarting the economy and helping workers amid the COVID-19 crisis.

With more lax quarantine measures in place, barangays deemed to be "high risk" due to the alarming number of COVID-19 cases will be subject to "zoning," which will be implemented by the National Task Force on COVID-19.

Starting June 1, buses will be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity in Metro Manila, but modern jeepneys are still not allowed to operate for three more weeks. Trains and buses plying train service routes will be allowed to run immediately, along with shuttles of private companies, transport network vehicle services such as GrabCar, taxis, tricycles, and point-to-point buses.

Residents in GCQ areas will be allowed to head out, except for those aged under 21, as well as those 60 and older, to limit infections. There is also some leeway to socialize in GCQ areas, but religious gatherings remain prohibited.

The following areas will also be under GCQ for 15 days:

– Entire Region 2 (Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Santiago City)

– Entire Region 3 (Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac)

– Entire Region 4-A (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Lucena City)

– Albay


– Davao City

Meanwhile, the rest of the country will be placed under modified general community quarantine.

As of Thursday, the country reported 15,588 confirmed COVID-19. Recoveries have reached 3,598, while 921 have died of the disease.

Health Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire on Thursday said the doubling time of coronavirus cases in the country has slowed to seven days — a vast improvement from the 2-3 days before the start of ECQ in March.