Duterte to announce new quarantine status on Wednesday

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 13) – New community quarantine classifications may be announced on Wednesday, the same day the existing guidelines end, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said. 

Roque on Monday said President Rodrigo Duterte will decide on quarantine status on July 15, a day after a third meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases for their recommendations. Tuesday's meeting will discuss the appeals of local chief executives about the fate of their provinces, towns and cities for July 16-31.

"Meron pong mga lugar na mage-escalate considering na nakita natin na tumataas ang ating severe at critical cases. At the same time, 'yung new cases, tumataas din po [There are areas which will see quarantine rules escalate considering the observation that severe and critical cases rose. At the same time, new cases also climbed]," national COVID-19 task force chief implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr. said.

Officials refused to reveal specific recommendations, but said that Metro Manila is unlikely to see a relaxation to a modified general community quarantine or MGCQ.

"At this point, the data does not indicate na pupwedeng magluwag at least sa [that restrictions may be eased in] Metro Manila," Roque said, referring to a spike in cases in recent days.

​He added this was to manage expectations, following calls to open up the country's main economic hub as soon as possible.

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There are now 56,259 positive cases in the country, with 2,124 new cases tallied on Sunday. Some 16,046 patients have recovered while 1,534 died.

Galvez added that Metro Manila mayors have recommended to keep the region under GCQ, which has been its status for the past six weeks, due to rising hospital bed occupancy.

Both St. Luke's Medical Center and the Makati Medical Center announced Monday that their dedicated beds for critically ill COVID-19 patients are at full capacity. For St. Luke's this applies to both its hospitals in Quezon City and Taguig.

Several medical facilities said last week that beds dedicated to coronavirus patients are all occupied.

Galvez added that the IATF will still issue one quarantine rule for the entire Metro Manila, heeding the request of mayors. He said that local officials are in talks on a "hybrid" lockdown, where more economic activities will be allowed despite strict stay-at-home rules. However, business owners will have to "take equal responsibility" in managing infections and looking after workers.

RELATED: DTI suggests adjusting business operating capacity ahead of MGCQ declaration

Meanwhile, other cities which saw a surge in infections could see quarantine rules "escalate," Galvez added. He did not specify which areas may be affected as the final decision will come from the President.

Most of the country remains under the most relaxed MGCQ, but Cebu City is currently under the strictest form of quarantine due to a spike in cases.