A granular lockdown system will be implemented in Metro Manila starting Sept. 8, Wednesday, together with the shift of the region to a more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) category until Sept. 30, Malacañang announced.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing on Monday, Sept. 6, that governors and mayors are to decide on the granular lockdowns. The new system’s guidelines are still yet to be finalized by the technical team but will be released Tuesday, according to the spokesperson.
Under a granular lockdown, movement is limited that even authorized persons outside residence (APOR) are not allowed to go out of their homes.
“‘Yung APOR po, you can leave but you cannot go back. Wala na pong APOR na labas-pasok. Magbibigay po tayo ng ayuda sa mga granular lockdown, pati pagkain ibibigay ng gobyerno,” Roque said.
In an interview on Sunday, Sept. 5, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the pilot test of the new system in Metro Manila will be assessed every two weeks.
Under this system, only areas identified as high risk for COVID-19 will be placed under a lockdown, which could be an entire subdivision or even a street, unlike the previously implemented province- or city-wide quarantine.
The granular lockdowns will be categorized in different levels—from 1 to 4, with four being the strictest.
“During this period, the Guidelines for Pilot Areas shall be observed supplemented by the IATF Omnibus Guidelines on the implementation of community quarantine, as amended,” the resolution read.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez confirmed on Saturday, Sept. 4, that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has approved of the granular lockdown to be implemented, with Metro Manila as its pilot area.
Some cities in Metro Manila have previously implemented granular lockdowns, including Mandaluyong City, Quezon City and Caloocan City.
In the Laging Handa public briefing on Monday morning, Sept.6, National Task Force Against COVID-19 spokesperson Ret. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said the objective of the granular lockdown is to enable places that do not have rising cases of COVID-19 to function economically.
For those areas that are not under a granular lockdown, standard health protocols of wearing face masks and face shields still apply, Padilla noted. “This is a process of transitioning into a new normal, as we enable people with various jobs to continue with their work.”
Metro Manila was placed under enhanced community quaratine, the strictest of the quarantine restrictions, from Aug. 2 to 20 due to the increase in COVID-19 cases brought by the more infectious Delta variant.
For the past few days, the Philippines has consecutively logged COVID-19 cases above 20,000, which brings the country’s total cases at 2,080,984.
Banner and thumbnail photo by Miguel de Guzman/The Philippine STAR