Cebu and Mandaue cities reverted to the strictest quarantine measures following new recommendations from the interagency task force leading the country’s Covid-19 response.

The two highly urbanized cities on Cebu island in Central Visayas remained under high risk of coronavirus infection and would be under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until May 31, according to Resolution No. 37 of the Interagency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, dated May 15.

The IATF added more areas covered by a “modified” or relaxed ECQ. Aside from Metro Manila and Laguna, the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga including Angeles City, and Zambales were placed under modified ECQ until May 31.

All other provinces and highly urbanized and independent component cities will be under general community quarantine until May 31.

According to new IATF rules approved on May 15, the ECQ imposes the most stringent temporary measures against movement of people and public transportation. Only essential goods and services are allowed and most economic activities are restricted, except some that are allowed to operate with a skeletal workforce. There is also heightened presence of uniformed personnel to implement quarantine protocols.

The GCQ allows more business to operate, including malls and shopping centers, except leisure establishments. Public transport services are allowed to operate at reduced capacity. Individual outdoor exercises are also allowed as long as precautions such as social distancing are observed.

The modified ECQ is a transition phase between ECQ and GCQ, where more businesses are allowed to operate at 50 percent manpower capacity but public transport remains suspended. Meetings of up to five people and individual outdoor exercises are permitted as long as precautions such as social distancing are observed.

The IATF also released guidelines for modified GCQ, where all persons are allowed outside of their residences. Work in public and private offices are allowed to resume with alternative arrangements for people 60 years old and above. Public transport services are also allowed to operate but must ensure that one-meter distance is observed between passengers.

Entry and exit of persons to or from ECQ or modified ECQ areas are prohibited, but allowed under GCQ or modified GCQ areas.

Download the latest quarantine guidelines here. (