IN PHOTOS: Metro Manila’s first day back under MECQ

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Traffic build up along Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City around 10 a.m. Photo by JL JAVIER

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Starting August 4, Metro Manila and neighboring provinces such as Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan will be under a two-week Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine. The revert to MECQ — from the recently announced GCQ — was the government’s response to the plea of the medical community as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Checkpoints have been set up in various areas around Metro Manila and citizens are advised to stay at home and move only within their immediate vicinity to access essential goods. Quarantine passes will be required once again.

But to address the need for continued economic stimulus, many businesses such as malls, BPOs, mining and quarrying, and courier services are allowed to operate under MECQ. On the other hand, cultural centers, barber shops/salons, construction projects, and fitness centers are not allowed to operate. Companies are advised to provide shuttle services for their employees as public transport is suspended for now.

The University of the Philippines OCTA Research team revealed during a Palace briefing that the MECQ may save more than 50,000 COVID 19 cases, but emphasized that it is not enough to flatten the curve.

"Over 200,000 ang aming estimate projection in August pero dahil nag-MECQ tayo, bababa between 50,000 and 70,000 cases," said UP professor Ranjit Rye.

National COVID-19 task force chief implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr. said that this is a critical phase in addressing the COVID-19 crisis. He said that the increase in COVID-19 cases is due to the reopening of the economy and the improved efforts to test more people.

Here are scenes around Metro Manila as we revert into a restrictive community quarantine.

Meat vendors with plastic-outfitted stalls at Las Piñas City’s Zapote Public Market are business as usual. Photo by JL JAVIER

Police and military personnel oversee vehicles passing through a checkpoint along the borders of Las Piñas, Metro Manila, and Bacoor, Cavite. Photo by JL JAVIER

Barangay officers stand outside the Zapote Public Market to monitor pedestrians. Photo by JL JAVIER

Restaurants are only allowed to provide take-out and delivery services during MECQ. Photo by JL JAVIER

Officers strictly monitor customers going inside the Pasig City Public Market. Photo by JL JAVIER

A customer queues in front of a wholesale grocery in Las Piñas. Only a limited number of people are allowed inside. Photo by JL JAVIER

Individuals looking to be tested for COVID-19 wait for a testing facility in Manila City to open around 8 a.m. Photo by JL JAVIER

Uniformed police gather by the closed entrance of LRT-2’s Carriedo Station. Public transportation is suspended under MECQ. Photo by JL JAVIER

An elderly man stops by the barred doors of Quiapo Church. The Archdiocese of Manila has suspended religious gatherings during the MECQ. Photo by JL JAVIER

Many of Hidalgo Street’s vendors and small establishments in Manila City are still open despite slightly tighter restrictions of MECQ. Photo by JL JAVIER

Traffic build up on Julia Vargas Street along Ortigas Ave. towards a police checkpoint. Photo by JL JAVIER

A queue of tricycle drivers at a terminal in Barangay Holy Spirit, Quezon City. Tricycle operations are allowed by the Quezon City LGU during MECQ. Photo by JL JAVIER

At a checkpoint along Ortigas Extension in Pasig, motorcyclists are stopped by police to show documents that qualify them for travel. Photo by JL JAVIER

A mall complex in Makati City seems nearly empty as establishments have been forced to limit their services under the MECQ. Photo by JL JAVIER

A group of construction workers from Pasay said they are walking to San Mateo, Rizal because they were laid off from work today and have no means of transportation as public transportation is suspended. Photo by JL JAVIER