Extend or downgrade? Metro Manila mayors to let IATF decide on quarantine status

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The mayors of Metro Manila’s 17 local government units (LGUs) will defer to the decision of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) on the next community quarantine status to be implemented in the National Capital Region.

The mayors’ decision was announced Wednesday, August 18, by Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos, the concurrent chairman of the Metro Manila Council (MMC).

“The LGUs are at the forefront and they know what is really happening on the ground but we have to weigh both economic and health factors in our decision. We deem it best to leave the decision to the wisdom and judgement of the IATF,” said Abalos.

The IATF is expected to announced on Thursday, August 19, whether Metro Manila’s quarantine classification will be downgraded from the current enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or the hard lockdown will be extended beyond August 20.

The MMDA chief assured that LGUs will continue to ramp up their COVID-19 vaccination campaign regardless of the IATF’s decision.

“Whatever the decision of the IATF will be, the mayors committed to continue doubling up their vaccination efforts. Stricter implementation of health protocols and comprehensive testing and contact tracing will also be continuously imposed,” Abalos said.

The MMC, composed of the 17 Metro Manila mayors, is the governing and policy-making body of the MMDA.