President Rodrigo Duterte announced Friday morning that Metro Manila and other areas with a high number of COVID-19 cases would remain under the general community quarantine (GCQ).
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said that Metro Manila may be reverted to stricter quarantine if the projection of the University of the Philippines of 85,000 cases by end-July would come to reality.
As of July 31, the Philippines recorded a total of 89,374 COVID-19 cases, with 3,954 new cases, the highest single-day infections reported since the virus outbreak started in the country.
The increase in cases is already overwhelming hospitals in Metro Manila, with beds allocated to COVID-19 cases reaching “danger zone.”
Duterte meanwhile said Cebu City in Central Visayas would be placed under general community quarantine from modified enhanced community quarantine. The city went back to enhanced community quarantine last June 15.
Other areas that will be under GCQ until August 15:
- Cebu City
- Lapu-Lapu City
- Mandaue City
- Talisay City
- Minglanilla in Cebu province
- Consolacion in Cebu province
- Zamboanga City
The rest of the country will be under modified general community quarantine.
“Tiis tiis muna kayo (Endure a little more),” the President said.
“Konting ingat lang (Be careful). Do not mix together and observe distance rule,” Duterte added.
Duterte is keeping his hopes high that a vaccine against COVID-19 would be available soon.
Beijing assured the country of COVID-19 vaccine after the President said he “made a plea” to Chinese President Xi Jinping during his fifth State of the Nation Address last Monday.
“The Philippines is a friendly close neighbor, and we will give priority to its needs once we succeed in developing a vaccine,” Wang Wenbin, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said in a briefing.
According to Wang, the health crisis has become a “new highlight” in the diplomatic ties between China and the Philippines.
“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and the Philippines have been standing together with mutual assistance, turning anti-epidemic cooperation into a new highlight in bilateral relations,” he said.
The World Health Organization, meanwhile, said the COVID-19 vaccine would not be available until early 2021.