Granular lockdown system starts from Sep 8 in the Philippines

A makeshift lockdown's barricade blocks a street from outsiders to protect a neighbourhood from the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manila, Philippines, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MANILA, Sep 6, 2021, PhilStar. The government’s pandemic task force has approved the implementation of a granular lockdown system starting Sept. 8 with the National Capital Region (NCR) as pilot area, a Cabinet official said yesterday, The Philippine Star reported.

In a Viber message to reporters, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has approved the implementation of the granular lockdown system.

The NCR is under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until Sept 7.

In an interview with dzBB, Lopez said the Department of Trade and Industry supports the scheme.

Earlier, Department of the Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said there was a consensus among government agencies to impose granular lockdowns instead of province-wide or city-wide quarantine restrictions.

Lopez said guidelines for the granular lockdown system are being finalized and would be released before Sept. 7.

Under the setup, only small pockets or areas with transmission would be placed under a hard lockdown and at different levels – from one to four, with four being the most stringent.

He said food would be provided to those in areas under hard lockdown. He also said more businesses would be allowed to open and operate at different capacities depending on the level imposed, and that health protocols like wearing face masks, face shields, distancing and ventilation would still have to be observed.

“There will be flexibility for LGU (local government unit) chief executives,” Lopez said.

For authorized persons outside of residence in areas under hard lockdown, he said it is suggested they not be allowed to go in and out, and employers should provide temporary housing or lodging.

If temporary housing cannot be provided, he said they would have to work from home.

The trade chief said the adoption of a granular lockdown system was in response to President Duterte’s wish for a more precise and responsive system.

“We have been implementing granular lockdown, but we fine tuned it, made it more specific so that hopefully, it will be more effective,” he said.

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