Netizens dread Monday commute on Day One of Metro Manila's shift to GCQ

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 31) — Metro Manila may be shifting to the general community quarantine on Monday, but people, expressing sentiments on social media, are dreading the risks that come with easier quarantine rules as they return to their workplaces.

Aside from the ongoing threat of the highly contagious virus, the impending traffic in the region's major thoroughfares is raising mounting concerns among netizens. Some pointed out the potential similarities in their experiences back when the capital was placed under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

"Traffic will be the worst. It was traffic during MECQ, what more during GCQ. Think about it," tweeted @vaneexxha.

"Last week ng MECQ the traffic was so heavy, paano na bukas na GCQ (general community quarantine)???" tweeted @futureCBGarcia.

[Translation: Last week of the MECQ, that traffic was so heavy, how about tomorrow when it's already the GCQ?]

"Approaching to the GCQ... most people got so excited that they almost forgot that the enemy was faceless and might be just anywhere. Traffic is terribly back," said @iemjempot. "Vehicles owns the streets and highways again."

Some also expressed worries about the surge in fares and long queues in other modes of public transportation.

"Ang mahal po ng carpool, thrice my usual fare kapag commute. Hindi talaga makatarungan yung GCQ provisions," said @maibaticulon.

[Translation: Carpooling is expensive and is thrice my usual fare during my commute. The GCQ provisions really are not justifiable.]

"TNVS will surely go on a surge hike. Unadvisable to take cabs due to traffic. Trains will have long queues. Lesser chance of happening to ride a jeep or even UV," @vaneexxha added.

'We're on our own now'

Meanwhile, some others aired their disappointment over their lack of options, as the government did not meet its testing target before deciding to ease the quarantine.

"Napunta sa wala lahat ng hinintay natin ngayong quarantine. magpapa GCQ sa NCR (National Capital Region) nang walang MASS TESTING. I guess we're really on our own? #MassTestingPH" said @SURELYAHEB.

[Translation: We've waited for nothing during this quarantine. The NCR will shift to the GCQ without mass testing. I guess we're really on our own?]

"Tomorrow is the day..... I pray that everyone’s safety and health will survive as we are left with no choice but to risk our lives during this GCQ period," said @seungwanslove.

Malacañang on Sunday urged the public to continue cooperating with authorities in the observance of quarantine protocols, noting that the government "cannot fight COVID-19 alone."

"Let us take care of each other by wearing face masks or face shields, maintaining physical distancing, staying at home when need be and avoiding crowded places and the like," it said.

The Department of Transportation also announced that it has increased its Metro Rail Transit-3 train sets to 19 from 15 on Monday to accommodate more passengers.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority also said that its coding scheme for vehicles will remain lifted until June 5, as jeepneys and most buses are still not allowed to ply their routes until June 22.

Starting June 1, quarantine measures will be eased in Metro Manila and several cities and provinces, while the rest of the country will be under a less strict modified general community quarantine.

On Friday, the Department of Health started to change the way it reported COVID-19 cases amid sudden surges, citing delayed results and testing backlogs.

The agency previously said that due to the current current health system capacity and limited resources of the country, it would not be "cost-effective" to include asymptomatic patients or individuals who do not show symptoms of COVID-19 in the testing coverage for the meantime.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque noted that it would be "physically impossible" to test all Filipinos, hence, the government is only testing 1 to 2 percent of the country's population of almost 110 million.

The country now has 17,224 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with a nationwide death toll of 950. However, a total of 3,808 patients have recovered from the disease.