DEPARTMENT of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana denied reports claiming Metro Manila will revert to the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) starting Saturday.
“It has come to the attention of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and the National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF COVID-19) that rumors are spreading that Metro Manila will be placed under MECQ starting tonight, 19 December 2020. This is not true,” said Lorenzana, who is also NTF-COVID-19 chair.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier retained Metro Manila under general community quarantine (GCQ) from Dec. 1 to 31.
“As the President had earlier announced, Metro Manila shall remain under GCQ until the end of the year. Neither the IATF nor the mayors of Metro Manila recommended any shift in the quarantine status in this period,” Lorenzana said.
He said the current COVID-19 situation in Metro Manila is stable and manageable and does not warrant a shift back to MECQ.
Despite stable situation, Lorenzana said the public must heed renewed appeals for cooperation in observing the health protocols the government put in place, such as wearing face mask and face shield in public, washing of hands and practicing safe physical distancing to prevent a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) spike.
“Let us avoid going to crowded places and holding social gatherings in the meantime to help prevent a possible surge in cases during this holiday season,” he added.
He added the COVID-19 pandemic is “still very much a threat to our health and safety” and urged the Filipinos not to be complacent and let their guard down.
For his part, Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año described such rumors of Metro Manila reverting back to MECQ as “fake news“.
However, he said MECQ remains a possibility, especially if there will be a surge or spike of COVID-19 cases during the Christmas Holidays.
“That is not true. (That is) fake news. Pero kung magkakarooon tayo ng matinding surge or spike ngayong Christmas, possibleng mangyari yan (But if we will have massive surge or spike of COVID-19 during the Christmas holidays, that is possible),” he added in a message Saturday night.