The majority of the Philippines, including Metro Manila, will see COVID-19 restrictions eased from Monday as the nation starts the long road to economic recovery.
President Rodrigo Duterte announced last week that Metro Manila, Davao City, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Pangasinan and Albay would all be placed under General Community Quarantine (GCQ), downgraded from Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), until 15 June.
Under GCQ, some restrictions on movement and public transport are lifted and certain businesses allowed to resume operations. There has been no word yet on when casinos and gaming venues will be allowed to open, nor when GCQ will be downgraded further to Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) – described as a transitional phase between GCQ and the “new normal.”
“We are not happy to put you in this place but after review, maybe we can,” Duterte explained, citing the recommendations of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases. “The rest of the country will be placed under the MGCQ. That is very clear now.”
He added that the situation will be further reviewed in the coming weeks.
Duterte first enforced community quarantine on Metro Manila for one month from 15 March, with PAGCOR subsequently banning all gaming operations throughout the National Capital Region for the same period, including both PAGCOR-owned and operated casinos plus licensed and integrated resort-casinos, electronic game (eGames), bingo (traditional and electronic), sports betting, poker and slot machine clubs.
Two days later, Duterte extended community quarantine to cover the entire main island of Luzon, with PAGCOR quickly following suit – restrictions that have since been extended three times.
As of Sunday, the Philippines had reported a total of 18,086 cases of COVID-19, with 3,909 people having recovered, 957 passing away and 13,220 cases remaining active, of which 73 are described as serious or critical.