Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to announce an easing of Luzon’s Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in some areas today, but the immediate fate of Manila’s integrated resorts remains unclear.
The Presidential Palace confirmed over the weekend that some areas of Metro Manila considered to be high risk will remain under ECQ once the current 15 May deadline passes, pending a final recommendation from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“The decision on areas where ECQ should remain will be granular and surgical,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, as reported by state-run Philippine News Agency.
Duterte announced on 30 April that quarantine measures would be extended for another two weeks until 15 May. However, some areas of the country deemed low risk were designated for General Community Quarantine (GCQ) rather than ECQ, meaning public transport and certain businesses were allowed to reopen at reduced capacity. Metro Manila was among the areas to remain under ECQ.
Metro Manila mayors are pushing for another two week extension of ECQ measures to further contain COVID-19, however at a virtual council meeting on Sunday they also proposed implementing different measures in different metropolitan areas, ranging from ECQ to GCQ and even some combination of both where applicable.
“We will let the national government decide what is the appropriate option for Metro Manila,” said the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s General Manager Jose Arturo Garcia Jr.
“We will respect the wisdom of the IATF to decide. We and the Metro Manila mayors shall follow and be ready.”
Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport has begun its own soft reopening, with charter flights now allowed to arrive without restrictions, pending pre-flight approval. Commercial flights remain heavily restricted until 10 June with a maximum 400 passenger arrivals per day.
The Philippines Department of Health on Sunday reported 147 new cases of COVID-19, taking the national total to 10,610. Of those new cases, 123 came from the National Capital Region in and around Manila.