NCR shifts to GCQ on Sept. 8 to pilot test localized lockdowns

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 6) — The National Capital Region will ease to general community quarantine on Sept. 8-30 as it is set to pilot test localized lockdowns, Malacañang said.

However, the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force has yet to provide guidelines on the so-called granular lockdown, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Roque said Duterte approved granular lockdown "in principle."

"In principle po, sinabi ko naman po, na itong pilot sa Metro Manila na granular lockdowns is already approved. Kaya lang po ang detalye ilalabas pa po either mamaya or bukas," said Roque in a briefing.

[Translation: In principle, the granular lockdowns in Metro Manila are already approved. However, the details will be released either later or tomorrow.]

The task force will make the recommendation to Duterte, who has the final say.

Roque said the granular lockdowns can cover a whole district, barangay, street, or even just a specific household.

Although guidelines are yet to be finalized, Roque said Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APORs) can leave their residences but can only return at the end of the lockdown.

“Mas mahigpit ang lockdown na ito kasi ang mga APORs ay pwedeng lumabas pero hindi na pwedeng bumalik...Magbibigay po tayo ng ayuda sa mga naka-lockdown,” he said.

[Translation: This will be a stricter lockdown because APORs will be allowed to leave, but they cannot return home anymore...We will give assistance to the people affected.]

Roque added that community quarantine classifications could be abolished soon based on the results of the pilot test.

“Baka dumating ang punto na mawawala ang mga community [quaratine] classifications. Pero ipa-pilot muna natin ito, so hindi pa po ‘yan sigurado,” he said.

[Translation: We might reach the point where there will be no more community quarantine classifications. But we will have to pilot test first, so nothing is final yet.]

Meanwhile, the Department of Health believes granular lockdowns are the way to go since widespread restrictions no longer seem to work against stopping the spread of cases, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Monday

"Nakita natin na yung big or province-wide restrictions, mukhang hindi na effective sa ginagawa nating response because mobility is there already," she said in a media briefing.

[Translation: We saw that the big or province-wide restrictions don't seem to be effective anymore since there is free movement.]

Vergeire believes locking down specific areas with a spike in COVID-19 cases would be more effective in active case finding and isolating those who are infected.

DOH reported that the entire capital region, except for the City of Manila, is under Alert Level 4 due to the continuous rise in COVID-19 infections and hospital bed utilization.

Latest community quarantine status

Here are the latest community quarantine classifications for other parts of the country:

Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine: Apayao, Bataan, Bulacan, Cavite, Lucena City, Rizal, Laguna, Iloilo Province, Iloilo City, Cagayan de Oro City.

General Community Quarantine (with heightened restrictions): Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, Quezon, Batangas, Naga City, Antique, Bacolod City, Capiz City, Cebu Province, Lapu-Lapu City, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, Davao Occidental, Butuan City

General Community Quarantine: Baguio City, Kalinga, Abra, Benguet, Dagupan City, City of Santiago, Quirino, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Tarlac, Occidental Mindoro, Puerto Princesa, Aklan, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Cebu City, Mandaue City, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Iligan City, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, Gen. Santos City, Sulatan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Cotabato City, Lanao del Sur

Meanwhile, the rest of the country will be placed under modified GCQ.