The Department of Health (DOH) today called for more targeted and recalibrated actions towards high-risk activities, as the National Capital Region and the provinces of Bataan and Laguna shift to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), so that some work and businesses can resume onsite operations.

This decision of the IATF acknowledged that the country cannot always rely on quarantine classifications as it is costly to the economy and livelihood of people. People need to return to a safer and smarter workplace, and act prudently.

However, the DOH emphasizes that this does not mean lifting restrictions but rather, focusing on targeted restrictions and monitoring granular lockdowns and specific high-risk activities. Under this quarantine classification, high-risk activities such as dine-in services, whether indoor or al fresco, and personal care services are still not allowed. Religious gatherings will also remain online during the MECQ. 

Further, the latest projections suggest that the least number of active cases in the NCR is seen when there is an improvement in the vaccination, shortening the interval between symptom onset and isolation to at most six days, and compliance to the minimum public health standards.

“Based on the latest DOH and FASSSTER projections, active cases in NCR may reach up to 66,403 by August 31 and 269,694 by September 30 when ECQ will be extended for two more weeks while maintaining current levels of vaccination, PDITR strategies, and compliance to minimum public health standards. Meanwhile, intensifying our efforts in these strategies while under MECQ may result in 83,921 active cases by August 31 and 158,489 active cases in NCR by September 30,” said DOH Spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

The DOH reminds the public to adhere to the minimum public health standards such as wearing face masks, washing of hands, observing physical distancing, ensuring proper ventilation whenever indoors, maintaining good personal hygiene and clean spaces, and getting vaccinated when eligible. Everyone is also urged to stay home except for essential activities.

Meanwhile, employers are reminded to implement a work from home set-up if possible, improve health measures in workplaces, and coordinate with LGUs for facilitation of immediate contact tracing and testing for suspected COVID-19 cases.

“We will continue to see a dramatic increase in cases in the coming days and this is not the time to be complacent. Adherence to the Minimum Public Health Standards is still our best defense against the virus. Early consultation and testing is key to cutting the transmission within households, communities, and workplaces,” added USec. Vergeire.