As the world starts to – slowly – crank up its engines toward an all-out completely coronavirus recovery, a lot of moving pieces are going to have to be delicately handled to ensure they can manage the load. A couple of regions that thought they had the virus under control have unexpectedly seen new cases emerge, which could set their economic rebound back even further. Erring on the side of caution, as unpleasant as it may be for many people, might be the better option, and the Philippine government is going that route. President Duterte has announced that Metro Manila will remain on lockdown until the end of the month, not this Friday, as previously expected.
The lockdown covers everything around Manila, including Entertainment City and its casino resorts. The “enhanced community quarantine” (ECQ) as its known was implemented in March and has seen its termination date delayed several times since then. The quarantine renewals coincide with the number of coronavirus cases seen in the country, which, as of yesterday, reached 11,350 with 751 deaths, according to the Philippine Department of Health. Duterte’s spokesperson, Harry Roque, explained of the measures, “It is not ECQ as we know it. It is not GCQ (general community quarantine) as we know it. It’s somewhere in between. It is a transition phase … we envision that after one month, we will all transition to GCQ.”
Under the new “modified ECQ,” which covers Metro Manila, Cebu City and Laguna, certain manufacturing activity and public transportation can ramp back up, but at reduced capacities. However, other activities, including casinos, will have to wait. GGRAsia confirmed with Universal Entertainment Corp. that its Okada Manila is going to remain closed. The casino operator explained, “In support of the Philippine government’s directive to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus, all Okada Manila operations have been suspended and will remain so until further notice. Our reopening will depend on the directive of the Philippine government on what businesses are allowed to resume after ECQ is lifted.”
Duterte isn’t the only government official to push for the extended quarantine – even mayors across the area wanted the lockdown to stay in place until health officials are confident the coronavirus is completely under control. Other areas of the country, where COVID-19 hasn’t been as prevalent, have started to see relaxed quarantine regulations; however, they’re being watched closely for any possible sign of a new outbreak.