Gov’t places Ifugao under MECQ; Puerto Princesa added to GCQ areas

The government is placing the province of Ifugao under the second strictest lockdown level — modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) — from May 1 to 14, while the city of Puerto Princesa in Palawan has been placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) for the whole month of May.

The Ifugao and Puerto Princesa lockdowns were requested by provincial authorities, presidential spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. said in a televised news briefing on Friday.

Mr. Roque said the Covid-19 taskforce also shortened the length of time that Quirino province and Santiago City in Cagayan Valley and Abra province in the Cordillera Administrative Region  would be under modified lockdown to just two weeks from the original month. 

The National Capital Region Plus (composed of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal ) will remain under MECQ until May 14.

“Health promotion and strict enforcement of minimum public health standards in all areas, especially their uniform implementation in high-risk areas, must continue,” Mr. Roque said in a statement. “These areas include the healthcare settings, wet markets, supermarkets, government offices, workplaces, and at home, among others.”

He said local governments were authorized to implement localized lockdowns to prevent community transmission.

Mr. Roque said the taskforce also allowed personal care services to operate at an initial 30% capacity and restaurants to offer indoor dining at an initial 10%capacity in areas under MECQ.

In a related development, Mr. Roque said the Philippines will lift its ban on the entry of foreign nationals — except for those coming from India or with a history of travel to the country — starting on May 1. He said inbound passengers must have a valid and existing visa “except for those under Balikbayan Program.”

Travellers must also have pre-booked accommodations for at least seven nights in an accredited quarantine hotel or facility. They must be tested in their quarantine facility “on the sixth day from the date of their arrival.”

The Philippines imposed a travel ban on India from April 29 to May 14 as the South Asian country suffers under a second wave of coronavirus infections. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza