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What Will Change Under MECQ? Here's What We Know So Far

The changes are familiar: quarantine passes and checkpoints.
PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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At 12:01 a.m. Tuesday until Aug. 18, Metro Manila, Laguna, Rizal, Cavite and Bulacan will be placed under the second highest COVID-19 quarantine, restoring restrictions not seen since May. The MECQ or Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine will change the daily lives of millions in the capital region, as cases continue to rise in the absence of a vaccine.

The last time the region was placed under MECQ was in the second half of March, before restrictions were downgraded to the second lowest, GCQ or General Community Quarantine. Here's what we know so far about the second MECQ. This is a developing story. Please refresh this page for updates.

Why was the MECQ reimposed?

Medical frontliners over the weekend fired off a distress call and called for a two-week ECQ, the highest form of quarantine. The doctors, nurses and hospital workers said rising infections risked overwhelming the medical system. They also called for a review of the government's pandemic-fighting strategy.

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The new MECQ will supersede the GCQ, which would have lasted until Aug. 15. The government reviews nationwide virus quarantines every 15 days.

Can I go to work?

As of early Monday, there have been no fresh directives on work resumption. However, based on government pronouncements during the first MECQ, many industries can resume work, with half on site and half on work from home. Access the lists here.

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Can I commute to work?

Only if you have a company-provided shuttle that observes physical distancing. Public transportation is suspended, including the MRT-3, LRT-1, LRT-2, ride-share services such as Grab, buses, taxis and jeepneys.

Can I go out for a workout?

Under the previous MECQ rules, walking and running outdoors is allowed as long as physical distancing is observed and runners wear masks. The gym can wait, however, it is only allowed in GCQ areas.

Do I need a quarantine pass?

Yes, according to Interior Sec. Eduardo Año. The interior chief said he would meet with Metro Manila mayors later Monday to discuss the quarantine pass enforcement. Checkpoints will also be reinstated to ensure that only those on essential errands are outside their homes and that people don't go outside their cities.

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Can I go to Church?

No. Even before the new MECQ was announced, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said public church services would be suspended from Aug. 3 to 14. Online masses however will continue.