Sec. Lorenzana: Metro Manila may be placed under GCQ by June 1

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Quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila due to COVID-19 will most likely be eased further by June 1, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Saturday. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 23) — Quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila due to COVID-19 will most likely be eased further by June 1, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Saturday.

"More likely mag-gi-GCQ na tayo by June 1," he told reporters at an event in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

[Translation: We are more likely to be under GCQ by June 1.]

Asked if Metro Manila is ready to shift to general community quarantine, Lorenzana said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is already discussing it, adding that areas with COVID-19 cases may remain under their control.

"Ang pinag-uusapan naming sa IATF, e mag-GCQ pero 'yung mga areas na meron pa ring... mga infection baka 'yun na lang ang ikontrol ng konti," he added.

[Translation: What we are discussing in the IATF is to move to GCQ but we may have to take control areas that still have infections.]

Currently under GCQ are areas where COVID-19 infections are considered to be "low-risk", where residents below 21 years old, individuals 60 years old and above, pregnant women and people with health risks such as immunodeficiency conditions, are not allowed to leave home, unless their circumstance requires them to head out to get essential goods and services.

More industries are also allowed to operate at greater capacity under GCQ.

Metro Manila, along with Laguna, Bataan, Bulacan and other provinces, are currently under modified enhanced community quarantine, where certain sectors such as construction and food manufacturing are allowed to resume operations after two months of work stoppage.

The defense chief said although fewer cases were being reported daily, quarantine measures must remain to avoid a "second wave" of infections.

"We would like to impress in our people 'yung self-discipline, para masanay sila na ito na 'yung new normal, na social distancing, wearing of face mask, sanitation," Lorenzana said.

[Translation: We would like to impress self-discipline on our people so that they will get used to this new normal, with social distancing, wearing of face mask, sanitation.]

Health officials earlier said the country is still on its "first wave" of COVID-19 infections but maintained that the curve had "started to flatten" after fewer people have been testing positive every day since the daily case tally peaked on March 31.

The national case tally is now at 13,771, with 863 deaths and 3,177 recoveries