MANILA, Philippines — The government's pandemic task force is expected to meet after Christmas to discuss the quarantine classifications for January, Malacañang said Sunday, as it denied that stricter measures would be imposed in Metro Manila during the holidays.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) would be submitted to President Duterte, who is then expected to make a decision by yearend.
"After Christmas, we will meet so we can decide on our recommendation to the president," Nograles, also the co-chair of IATF, told radio station dzBB.
"Before January… the president will have a decision. We do it month by month," he added.
Metro Manila, Batangas, Isabela (except Santiago City), Iloilo City, Tacloban City, Lanao del Sur, Iligan, Davao City and Davao del Norte will be under general community quarantine until December 31. The rest of the country will be under the most lenient modified general community quarantine, where most businesses can operate and more people are allowed to join gatherings.
Nograles also described as "fake news" a memorandum stating that Metro Manila would revert to a stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ). The memorandum, which contained the logo of the National Capital Region Police Office and was circulated on messaging applications, said the capital region would be upgraded to MECQ starting December 19.
"That is far from the truth. You know our procedure in the IATF. We make our decisions every month," Nograles said.
"The localized lockdowns are enforced only on street level, zone level or barangay level. They are not enforced on the regional level," he added.
Nograles, nevertheless, noted that local governments can impose localized lockdowns in areas with rising numbers of COVID-19 infections.
The Philippines has logged more than 459,000 COVID-19 infections, about 21,000 of them active cases.
Last week, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said a stricter quarantine classification may be enforced in January if the country's health system capacity indicators reach critical levels.
Other regions and provinces in the Philippines considered moderate and low-risk areas will be placed under general community quarantine starting May 1. Bookmark this page for updates. (Main image by The STAR/Edd Gumban)
The Department of Health reports 1,754 additional COVID-19 cases, bringing the total cases in the country to 459,789.
The DOH also logs 8,080 mass recoveries, pushing the total of recovered patients to 429,134. The country's death toll reaches 8,947 with 36 new reported deaths.
With the latest figures, the total of active cases in the Philippines is now 21,708.
The Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease has approved putting Isabela province under General Community Quarantine, BusinessWorld's Gillian Cortez reports quoting the Palace.
Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque said the IATF-EID approved the imposition of a General Community Quarantine until Dec. 31 in Isabela. Isabela was formerly under an MGCQ. Santiago City in Isabela will be exempted from the GCQ. @bworldph
— Gillian Cortez (@gmcortez_) December 15, 2020
Isabela will be under GCQ from the less stringent Modified General Community Quarantine until December 31. Santiago City will remain under MGCQ.
Total coronavirus cases in the Philippines climb to 449,400 with the addition of 1,085 newly reported cases Sunday.
The total of recovered patients also jump to to 418,687 with 9,269 new mass recoveries. The country's death toll is at 8,733 with 3 new reported deaths.
Total active cases in the country stand at 21,980.
The Department of Health reports an additional 1,383 COVID-19 cases in the country, raising the national tally to 445,540.
The DOH also logs 133 new recoveries and 24 new deaths, bringing the total of recovered patients to 409,058 and the death toll to 8,701.
Total active cases in the Philippines now stand at 27,781.
The Department of Health reports an additional 1,387 COVID-19 cases in the country, raising the national tally to 444,164.
The DOH also logs 156 new recoveries and 7 new deaths, bringing the total of recovered patients to 408,942 and the death toll to 8,677.
Total active cases in the Philippines now stand at 26,545.
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