NCR, Laguna shift to MECQ from Aug. 21 to 31

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President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the Inter-Agency Task Force's recommendation to place Metro Manila and Laguna under the more relaxed modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from August 21 until the end of the month, Malacañang announced on Thursday. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 19) — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the Inter-Agency Task Force's recommendation to place Metro Manila and Laguna under the more relaxed modified enhanced community quarantine from Aug. 21 until the end of the month, Malacañang announced on Thursday.

Bataan will also be under MECQ from Aug. 23 to 31, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement. The province is currently under the strictest enhanced community quarantine status until Aug. 22.

"These latest classifications are without prejudice to the strict implementation of granular lockdowns," he added.

Under MECQ, only essential travel and services are allowed to operate like those related to food and medicine.

It is slightly stricter than the MECQ imposed in April, wherein limited outdoor dining and religious gatherings were allowed.

Indoor and al-fresco or outdoor dining, as well as personal care services such as beauty parlors, barbershops, and nail spas are still prohibited.

Religious gatherings shall also remain strictly virtual, the Palace said.

Individual outdoor exercises while wearing a face mask are allowed within the area of residence, the resolution released on Friday said.

Metro Manila, Laguna, and Bataan were previously placed under the strictest enhanced community quarantine amid the surge in coronavirus cases and the threat of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Meanwhile, affected local government units are also instructed to ramp up vaccination and COVID-19 prevention strategies.

On Thursday, the Department of Health reported the second highest single-day case count at 14,895, bringing the nationwide tally to 1,791,003 - with 30,881 deaths and 1,648,402 recoveries.

Four days ago, the number of Delta variant cases detected nationwide soared to over 800.