Metro Manila quarantine level eased despite Philippines cases nearing record highs

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The Philippines government has eased the COVID-19 quarantine classification for the National Capital Region (NCR), including Metro Manila, from Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) to Modified ECQ (MECQ).

The measures will be in place from 21 August to 31 August with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to then re-assess the situation.

ECQ, the strictest form of quarantine measures, was previously implemented by President Rodrigo Duterte on 6 August to halt rising case numbers throughout the region. However, it remains questionable what effect that decision has had with the Philippines reporting 14,895 new cases on Thursday the second highest daily figure since the start of the pandemic.

Under MECQ, some businesses are allowed to open, as are hotels approved by the Task Force. However, Government spokesman Harry Roque said indoor and al-fresco dine-in services, as well as personal care services such as beauty salons, beauty parlors, barbershops and nail spas remain prohibited.

It is believed that Entertainment City casinos will remain closed to the public but may be able to invite select guests.

All four integrated resorts City of Dreams Manila, Okada Manila, Resorts World Manila and Solaire Resort & Casino have recently announced vaccination schemes for their employees with Solaire confirming that all of its rostered staff are now fully vaccinated.

Gaming regulator PAGCOR also said last week that 94% of its employees are vaccinated against COVID-19.