Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal are set to go back under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from March 29 until April 4, 2021. Unlike last year’s version of this quarantine, however, public transport will remain operational, with passenger limits to be announced by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
A daily curfew lasting from 6pm to 5am will also be imposed in all aforementioned areas, with more uniformed personnel being deployed to enforce quarantine protocols. Only authorized persons outside their residence (APOR), workers in permitted industries and establishments, cargo vehicles, and public transportation shall be exempted from curfew.
The following are considered APOR:
- Essential workers (must present IDs showing place of work and place of residence)
- Health and emergency frontline services personnel
- Government officials and government frontline personnel
- Authorized humanitarian workers
- Persons required to travel for medical and humanitarian needs
- Persons en route to airports for essential travel abroad
- Persons crossing cities and towns to get to their place of work/business or their residence
- Returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)
No travel pass is required for the said individuals, said Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque during his briefing on March 27.
During non-curfew hours, movement of all other individuals is limited to accessing essential goods and services. Persons aged below 18 and above 65, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, and other health risks, and pregnant women must remain in their residences at all times, except when obtaining essential goods and services.
Gatherings of more than 10 persons outside of the household are prohibited, as are indoor gatherings with any persons outside of one’s immediate household.
On the community level, authorized personnel will be deployed to actively look for COVID-19 suspect cases for testing, contact-tracing, and isolation. Aside from RT-PCR tests, antigen test kits will also be procured for use in the expanded testing efforts.
Only the following industries, businesses, and establishments are allowed to operate at full capacity:
- Public and private hospitals
- Health, emergency, and frontline services
- Manufacturers of medicines, medical supplies, devices, and equipment
- Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries
- Delivery and courier services transporting food, medicine, and other essential goods
Essential and priority construction projects, both public and private, may be allowed to continue in accordance with guidelines to be issued by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The following, meanwhile, are allowed to operate at up to 50% capacity:
- Private establishments, but only for essential goods and services
- Media establishments
- Workers accredited by the DOTr
Of note, only essential stores like groceries, pharmacies, and hardware are allowed to remain open in malls. Restaurants may provide only take-out and delivery services—even al fresco dining is now prohibited.
Finally, the following are allowed to operate with a skeleton workforce:
- Other medical, dental, rehabilitation, and optometry clinics, pharmacies, or drugstores
- Veterinary clinics
- Banks and money-transfer services
- Telecommunications companies, internet service providers, and cable TV providers
Manufacturing companies and suppliers of construction materials such as cement and steel
- Funeral and embalming services
- Security personnel
- Real-estate activities limited to leasing
- Capital markets
- Water-supply and sanitation services and facilities
- Energy and power companies
- Airline and aircraft maintenance, pilots and crew, and employees
- The Philippine Postal Corporation, PSA, BPOs, export businesses, and printing presses
- Humanitarian assistance personnel from civil society organizations, NGOs, UN humanitarian country teams
- Pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, or such other religious ministers for the conduct of necrological or funeral rites
- Repair and maintenance of machinery and equipment
Today, March 27, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 9,595 new COVID-19 cases, taking the active case count to 118,122. The country has so far logged 712,442 cases since the start of the pandemic, 581,161 recoveries, and 13,159 deaths.