Metro Manila will remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) in March, Malacañang announced on Saturday.
President Rodrigo Duterte approved the quarantine status that will be implemented next month, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an announcement aired over state-run PTV-4.
Roque said GCQ would also be imposed in Apayao, Baguio City, Kalinga, Mt. Province, Batangas, Tacloban City, Iligan City, Davao City, and Lanao del Sur.
He said the rest of the country would stay under the least restrictive modified GCQ (MGCQ) from March 1 to 31.
“All other areas we did not mention are placed under modified general community quarantine),” Roque said.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), as well as the Metro Manila mayors, initially recommended the imposition of the most relaxed MGCQ in the entire Philippines in March.
Duterte, however, turned down the proposed nationwide shift to MGCQ until the government starts the rollout of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on February 23 said the President is taking a “step-by-step” approach to the plan to place the entire country under MGCQ.
Nograles also said the Cabinet “100 percent” supports Duterte’s latest decision.
The IATF-EID would stick to the “month-to-month” assessment even if the government starts its mass immunization drive.
Duterte is set to lead the simple turnover rites of Covid-19 vaccines from China’s Sinovac Biotech on Sunday.