Quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila will be eased one notch to modified enhanced community quarantine starting August 21, Malacañang said Thursday night, August 19, following a half-month long lockdown to slow the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus Delta variant.
From August 21 to 31, the capital region and the province of Laguna will be under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), which means that more industries will be allowed to operate again. Metro Manila and Laguna were initially placed under ECQ from August 6 to 20.
Bataan province, which is also under ECQ, will be downgraded to MECQ as well starting August 23 as per the decision of the government's pandemic task force.
"These latest classifications are without prejudice to the strict implementation of granular lockdowns," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
Despite the easing, the following will remain prohibited in Metro Manila, Laguna, and Bataan during MECQ:
- Indoor and al-fresco dine-in services
- Personal care services including beauty salons, beauty parlors, barbershops, and nail spas
- Religious gatherings
Local government units of Metro Manila, Laguna, and Bataan were directed to improve their vaccination rates and COVID-19 response protocols according to Roque.
Hospitals in recent days have been reporting full capacity due to rising COVID-19 infections. Over the past few days, the country has been recording around 10,000 new COVID-19 cases per day.
Mayors of the urban hub will ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations regardless of the community quarantine status, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos earlier said, acknowledging a surge in infections.
The government has distributed a P1,000 cash aid or ayuda with a P4,000 cap per family in Metro Manila and other areas for the ECQ to help those unable to work to get by.