Malacañang announces quarantine protocols; still no mass transport

As the country begins easing enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) measures in many areas, Malacañang released last Wednesday a new set of quarantine protocols for nationwide implementation.

Mass public transport shall remain in areas where ECQ continues to be imposed. “Sa ECQ, wala pong (Under ECQ, public transportation is still not allowed),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

However, the use of shuttles for frontline workers and private vehicles for persons is allowed in areas under ECQ.

For areas under modified ECQ, the government would permit the use of government company shuttles, personal vehicles, bicycles, motorcycles, electric scooters, and public shuttles. Meanwhile, all public and private transportation are allowed in areas under GCQ, but strict safe distancing and safety protocols must be followed.

Roque also said domestic flights are prohibited and international flights are limited in areas under ECQ and modified ECQ.

Beginning May 16, Roque reminded the public to observe “minimum standards” as areas transition from ECQ to modified ECQ or general community quarantine (GCQ). These minimum standards include wearing of face masks, frequent sanitation and hand washing, and reduced face-touching, among many other safety measures released to the public during early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roque also encouraged people to observe strict social distancing of at least one meter, and urged facilities to reconfigure workspaces as well as implement markers that promote the practice.

“Nag-simula tayo sa ECQ. Gagawin nating modified ECQ papunta sa GCQ at susunod po ang modified GCQ bago po tayo magkaroon ng new normal (We began with ECQ, and we'll go to modified ECQ then modified GCQ before we return to a new normal),” Roque said in a virtual press conference.

The modified ECQ is set to be imposed in Metro Manila, Laguna, and Cebu City from May 16 to 31, according to Roque. Meanwhile, the following areas will be placed under GCQ:

  • Cagayan Valley
  • Central Luzon
  • Calabarzon (except Laguna)
  • Cordillera region
  • Central Visayas (except Cebu City)
  • Zamboanga Peninsula
  • Davao region
  • Caraga

The Ilocos region and other low-risk areas will be placed under modified GCQ, Roque clarified.

Wala na pong lugar sa Pilipinas na hindi nasa ilalim ng community quarantine. Yung nauna pong areas na sinabi natin na wala na pong community quarantine, balik po sila under modified GCQ (There won't be an area in the Philippines not under quarantine. Those areas we earlier said won't be under quarantine will be back under modified GCQ),” Roque said.

Here are other guidelines under the new protocols:

  • People residing in places where ECQ and modified ECQ will be enforced must “100 percent” stay at home.
  • Vulnerable individuals, such as senior citizens, and transmitters, such as youths, are not allowed to go outside of their homes while GCQ is being implemented.
  • Outdoor exercise is not allowed during the ECQ period while people from areas placed under modified ECQ can walk, jog, run, and bike so long as they observe safety protocols, such as the wearing of face mask and practicing social distancing of at least two meters.
  • Limited sports, such as golf and tennis, are allowed in places under GCQ.
  • Mass gatherings are still prohibited in areas under ECQ.
  • A gathering of a maximum of five people is allowed in areas where modified ECQ will be implemented.
  • A maximum of 10 people could hold a meeting in areas placed under GCQ

Skeleton workforce in government would be allowed during the imposition of ECQ and modified ECQ, Roque said.

Photos from the Presidential Communications Operations Office

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