Metro Manila, 9 other areas under GCQ in January

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 28) -- The general community quarantine status of Metro Manila will be extended until January 31, President Rodrigo Duterte announced.

The decision came amid the possibility of a post-holiday surge in COVID-19 cases, a scenario which authorities said they have been preparing for ahead of December.

The GCQ extension also means the country's capital region will be under its eighth month under the quarantine classification, excluding the two-week return to the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine during the first half of August.

Duterte said GCQ will likewise be implemented in nine other areas nationwide from Jan. 1 to 31. These include Isabela, Santiago City, Batangas, Iloilo, Tacloban City, Lanao del Sur, Iligan City, Davao City, and Davao del Norte.

The rest of the country will be under the more lenient modified GCQ.

Health spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said the Department of Health is targeting to have the entire country placed under MGCQ by the first quarter of 2021.

To date, the DOH has recorded 470,650 COVID-19 cases nationwide, including 9,124 deaths and 438,780 recoveries.