Severity: Critical Alert
Exit/Entry: Philippines maintaining varying community quarantine restrictions nationwide through July 15 due to COVID-19.
- Alert Begins: 01 Jul 2020 08:56 AM UTC
- Alert Expires: 15 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Transport and business disruptions, quarantine measures
Authorities continue to implement varying community quarantine restrictions nationwide through at least July 15 amid ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. The country remains under Code Red Sublevel 2 on the code alert system, indicating ongoing local virus transmission with greater numbers of cases than the government can address. Residents nationwide need to remain at home at all times, except for essential, emergency, or permitted work purposes. At-risk groups, including people below the age of 21 and above the age of 60, cannot work on-site, with limited exceptions.
Cebu City will continue to implement the strictest controls, termed the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), through July 15. Most on-site work is suspended. Essential sectors like medical and manufacturing of medical supplies can continue working at full capacity. Workplaces like supermarkets and media companies can operate on-site with half the employee capacity, while sectors like banking and telecommunication are limited to their skeleton workforce. Public transport, domestic flights, educational institutions, and nonessential mass gatherings are suspended.
Several locations, including Metro Manila, are implementing the less strict general community quarantine (GCQ) through July 15. Most workplaces and public places can operate with distancing controls, though facilities like gyms and entertainment venues remain closed. Public transport can operate at a reduced capacity with health protocols. Nonessential mass gatherings are banned, while religious mass gatherings are capped at 10 people. Educational institutions are suspended. Specific areas under GCQ include:
- Luzon region: Metro Manila and Benguet (except Baguio City), Cavite, and Rizal provinces
- Visayas region: Leyte (except Tacloban City) and Southern Leyte provinces; Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Ormoc, and Talisay cities; and Consolacion and Minglanilla municipalities
The least-strict level of measures, termed the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), are in effect in several localities through July 15. Companies can work on-site, though at-risk employees have to telecommute. Public places, such as food establishments and gyms, can operate at 50 percent capacity. Public transport can operate with distancing controls in place. Mass gatherings can occur as long as the participants occupy less than half the venue's capacity. Universities can conduct on-site activities with health protocols, while other educational institutions remain suspended with limited exceptions.
Authorities further categorized MGCQ areas into two groups, the localities requiring "strict local action" and the "low-risk" locations. Specific "strict local action" localities, which may implement more stringent controls like community quarantine restrictions in localized areas, include:
- Luzon region: Abra, Albay, Bataan, Batangas, Bulacan, Cagayan, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Ifugao, Ilocos Norte, Isabela, Kalinga, La Union, Laguna, Nueva Ecija, Palawan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, and Quezon provinces and Angeles, Lucena, Naga, and Puerto Princesa cities
- Mindanao region: Agusan del Norte, Bukidnon, Cotabato, Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, South Cotabato, and Zamboanga del Sur province and Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and Zamboanga cities
- Visayas region: Bohol, Capiz, Cebu, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Samar provinces; Bacolod, Iloilo, Tacloban, and Talisay cities; Consolacion and Minglanilla municipalities
All other localities are enacting the least strict "low-risk" modified general community quarantine, where residents are still required to remain at home except for essential, work, or emergency purposes.
Provincial and municipal authorities may appeal to the central government to either tighten or ease measures. Officials may also enact additional restrictions in localized areas with significant COVID-19 activity. Local authorities in Metro Manila's Manila and Muntinlupa cities are implementing a 2200-0500 and 2200-0400 curfew respectively. Airlines, including AirAsia (AK), Cebgo (DG), Cebu Pacific (5J), and Philippine Airlines (PR), have reopened domestic routes between several cities with health protocols, such as requiring passengers to wear facemasks and advising passengers to arrive at least three hours before boarding domestic flights.
All visas, including previously issued documents and visa-free privileges, remain suspended, effectively banning foreigners from entering the Philippines. Exemptions are in place for foreign spouses and children of Philippine citizens, diplomatic staff and dependents, and visa holders already in the country. Arriving travelers must undergo a two-week quarantine at government-designated facilities. Philippine citizens remain prohibited from leaving the country, with exceptions for Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and uniformed personnel on official duty.
Background and Analysis
COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.