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‘NCR Plus’ under Modified ECQ until April 30

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila and nearby areas will revert to a more relaxed Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine after spending two weeks under the strictest form of lockdown.

MECQ in the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal — or the ‘NCR Plus’ bubble— will take effect on April 12 and remain in place until the 30th, Malacañang said Saturday.

According to the Metro Manila Development Authority, the curfew in Metro Manila from April 12 to 30 will be from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. from the 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. imposed during ECQ.

RELATED: PNP says no changes in enforcement under MECQ

It is yet unclear what other specific restrictions this implementation of MECQ will have, but these were imposed the last time that the capital was put under that classification:

  • Limited movement within zone for obtaining essential services and work
  • Operation of selected manufacturing and processing plants up to maximum of 50% workforce.
  • Limited transporting services for essential goods and services
  • No domestic flights, limited international flights
  • Controlled inbound travel (OFWs/returning filipinos)
  • Biking and non-motorized transport encouraged
  • No inter-island travel
  • No physical classes at all levels

READ: Ending the year in quarantine: How COVID-19 curbs in the Philippines evolved

ECQ in March

The coronavirus task force placed NCR Plus under enhanced community quarantine on March 29 amid mounting pressure from experts who flagged the unprecedented surge in infections and the increasingly overwhelmed healthcare system.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque earlier this week ruled out the possibility of extending ECQ, claiming that the government no longer has the funds to help people affected by movement restrictions.

The government is still distributing the P1,000 in aid, either in cash or in-kind, that it promised to the most affected 22.9 million poor families meant to help them through yet another stringent lockdown. Per family, cash aid will not exceed P4,000.

However, Roque also said that upgrading to a modified ECQ would be contingent on the outcome of intensified prevention, detection, isolation, treatment and reintegration or PDITR efforts.

Friday saw the most number of COVID-19 deaths ever recorded in the Philippines with 401 new entries reported by the Department of Health. On Saturday, active cases — at 190,245 — reached new heights for the third day in a row.

It has been 390 days since parts of the country were first placed under lockdown.

This is a developing story. Pelase check back for updates.

— Bella Perez-Rubio 

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