‘Home religious services’ are now permitted in areas placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), Malacañang announced Saturday.

“Puwede na rin pong magbigay ng home religious services. Pansinin ninyo po, ‘home religious services,’ ang mga pastor, mga pari, mga imam, mga rabbi at iba pang religious ministers provided mayroon pong proper health protocols gaya ng pagsuot ng mask at saka social distancing, temperature check at iba pa po,” Presidential Spokesperon Harry Roque said.

Under the omnibus guidelines on quarantine measures in the Philippines signed and released Saturday, May 16, public religious gatherings of up to 5 persons are now permitted. Roque added that even home religious gatherings must follow the government’s maximum number of 5 participants.

Starting Saturday, May 16, Metro Manila and other areas are placed under MECQ for being considered as “high risk” areas for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).  Most areas in the country previously placed under ECQ are now under general community quarantine (GCQ) which allowed most businesses to resume operations.

Places under MECQ will only allow residents to leave their homes to buy food and other basic necessities and in cases of emergency.

As of areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), swimming is now one of the sports activities allowed, as the Palace recognizes that it is a “non-contact sport.”

As of May 16, Saturday, the country has 12,305 confirmed COVID-19 cases.  (Rommel F. Lopez)