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The National Capital Region (NCR) is set to be placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) with Alert Level 4 as it shifts to a new lockdown scheme from September 16 to 30, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III confirmed on Tuesday.

In a virtual press briefing, Densing reiterated the recent statements of DILG Secretary Eduardo Año and Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary and spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire which declare the imposition of GCQ in Metro Manila under Alert Level 4 upon the decision of NCR Mayors.

The economic strain observed amid the surge of COVID-19 cases prompted the officials to run a pilot test of granular lockdowns in the capital region, weighing down both the health and economic conditions of the country.

Under the new guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), individuals younger than 18, older than 65, pregnant, and with comorbidities shall stay at home.

Indoor tourist attractions, indoor face-to-face examinations, meeting venues, wedding receptions, indoor gyms and courts, swimming pools, amusement parks, arcades, billiards halls, internet shops, contact sports, indoor entertainment venues, and other indoor recreational venues are prohibited to operate under Alert Level 4.

Densing, however, clarified that up to 10% capacity will be allowed to operate indoor dine in, religious activities, and personal care services for people who have already received complete jabs.

The three activities are further available at 30% capacity when conducted in an outdoor setting. 

Densing also said that intra and interzonal travels will further be allowed in the region as restrictions may vary and depend on local government units (LGUs) of each area. 

“Sa alert level 4 po, intra and interzonal travels are really allowed so wala po tayong distinction kung babyahe tayo from one city to another dito sa kalakhang Maynila at wala ring problema kung lalabas po tayo ng kalakhang Maynila. May pagka-luwag po ang ating pagba-byahe at ang restriction ay manggagaling na lamang po sa lokalidad ng ating pupuntahan,” he said.

Prior to the imposition of the alert level system, the implementation of the granular lockdowns for particular areas is already set in place. However, based on the statistics, the number of areas necessary to be put under the new experimental lockdown is increasing over time.

Asked if there are warnings before the implementation of a granular lockdown, Densing explained that there will be no warning should the amount of cases in a place has already been clustered and requires an immediate lockdown to prevent further COVID-19 transmission.

Ang magrerekomenda ng isang granular lockdown ay manggagaling sa local health office. May posibilidad po na magkakaroon ng prior notice depende na po sa local na gobyerno pero may mga panuntunan din po ‘yan na kapag ang isang area ay nasa [ilalim ng] granular lockdown, kung may palalabasin lang para po mamili ng pangangailangan ng bahay bago ipatupad ang isang lockdown, isang tao lang po sa bawat bahay,” Densing stated.

Año earlier said that the authority to declare lockdowns is in the hands of LGUs and provision of warnings will also come from them as areas which are possible to be placed under the new scheme have long been identified by local chief executives.

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