COVID-19 Crisis: GCQ in NCR and 4 provinces stricter until July 31

You must have heard the news this past weekend. In case you missed the news, the general community quarantine (GCQ) status in the National Capital Region (NCR) plus four provinces has gotten stricter since July 23 and this new adjustment will last until the end of this month. At the same time, children are to keep staying indoors. The national authorities confirmed it.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) article. Some parts in boldface…

The quarantine status in Metro Manila and four other provinces has been upgraded to stricter general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions,” Malacañang announced on Friday.

This, after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF-EID) recommendation to place Metro Manila, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Davao de Oro, and Davao del Norte under a more restrictive GCQ from July 23 to 31.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson, said Metro Manila must follow the health and quarantine protocols for areas under GCQ “with heightened restrictions.

“The same IATF rules would be observed when NCR was previously under GCQ with heightened restrictions,” Roque said in a press statement.

Metro Manila, which was placed under GCQ “with some restrictions” from July 1 to 15, was initially put under regular GCQ from July 16 to 31.

On the other hand, Davao de Oro and Davao del Norte were originally under a more restrictive modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), while Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur were supposed to be under modified GCQ (MGCQ) until the end of July.

Duterte, meantime, agreed to downgrade the quarantine classification in Davao del Sur to GCQ from MECQ, Roque said.

“Davao del Sur, which is previously MECQ, is placed under GCQ starting July 23, 2021 until July 31, 2021,” he said.

No outdoor activities for kids

Now that Metro Manila, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Davao de Oro, and Davao del Norte are under GCQ “with heightened restrictions,” children aged five and above can no longer stay outdoors, Roque said.

“As these areas will be placed under GCQ with heightened restrictions, children five years old and above will not be allowed to go to outdoor areas, as provided for under IATF Resolution No. 125,” he said.

Under IATF-EID Resolution 125 issued on July 8, children as young as five years old can go outdoors despite the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, so long as they are residing in areas placed under GCQ and MGCQ.

Children can only go to outdoor spaces like parks, playgrounds, beaches, biking, and hiking trails, outdoor tourist sites, and attractions as may be defined by the Department of Tourism, including on outdoor non-contact sports courts and venues, and al-fresco dining establishments, according to the resolution.

Apart from the stricter GCQ, there is also an adjustment on the Metro Manila curfew hours which has taken effect already. The new curfew hours are now 10PM to 4AM.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this news? Do you believe that the spreading Delta variant here in the Philippines is a factor behind the move to a stricter GCQ?

If you are a parent, what do you think about the national authorities’ decision to keep children indoors?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.


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