THE Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has placed Bacolod City under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) starting Tuesday, September 8, until September 30, 2020.

This is one level higher than general community quarantine (GCQ), which is supposed to take effect in the city from September 1 to 30.

The IATF, through Resolution 69-A, approved the recommendation of the national chief implementer of the Philippine's Declared National Policy against Covid-19 to place the city and Lanao del Sur under MECQ for 23 days.

The resolution signed by IATF co-chairperson Secretary Karlo Nograles stated that the approval of the IATF shall be subject to the ratification and pronouncement of the President.

In a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte and other Cabinet officials Monday night, September 7, Covid-19 Task Force chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said they are recommending to place Bacolod City under MECQ due to the rising number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases here.

In fact, the number of confirmed cases in Bacolod City is much higher than Iligan City, which is also under MECQ, the official told the President.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who was also present at the meeting, said basing on the mass testing conducted recently in Bacolod, the city has an average of 135 new cases per day.

"That is why, we strongly recommend or endorsed the recommendation of General Mel Feliciano and Secretary [Roy] Cimatu to escalate the community quarantine to MECQ," he added.

As of this writing, there is no statement yet from the City Government.

Though, Mayor Evelio Leonardia is expected to issue an executive order regarding the implementation of MECQ in the city.

But based on the guidelines issued by the IATF for areas under MECQ, it said that minimum health protocols shall be complied with at all times for the duration of such quarantine status.

Strict home quarantine shall be observed in all households, and the movement of all residents shall be limited to accessing essential goods and services, and for work in permitted offices or establishments or such other listed activities.

Any person below 21 years old, those 60 years old and above, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, or other health risk, and pregnant women, including any person who resides with the aforementioned, shall be required to remain in their residences at all times, except when indispensable under the circumstances for obtaining essential goods and services, for work in industries and offices or activities permitted, it added.

Establishments are also categorized as to whether they can operate at full or 50 percent capacity.

Also, mass gatherings, face to face or in-person classes, and public transportation shall be suspended.

However, commissioned shuttle services for employees of permitted offices or establishments, as well as point-to-point transport services provided by the government shall be allowed to operate, giving priority to healthcare workers.