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NCR To Begin Granular Lockdowns, 4 GCQ Alert Levels & ECQ, Here’s What Each Term Means

NCR to begin granular lockdowns & COVID-19 alert system

Forget MECQ, MGCQ – the new granular lockdown and quarantine classifications mean that folks living in the National Capital Region (NCR) have to get used to new terminologies starting 16th September.

Under this system, there will be a stricter granular lockdown very specific to an area, such as a street or condominium, with high COVID-19 cases, and only two types of quarantines – General Community Quarantine (GCQ) & Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).

These quarantines will be complemented with different alert levels per city and/or municipality.

What is a granular lockdown?

NCR granular alert level - condo
Image credit: Filinvest

According to the IATF guideline, a granular lockdown will be imposed on very specific parts of a city or town, such as a barangay or a condominium, that are considered critical zones or areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases.

It will be declared by either governors or mayors for a period not less than 14 days and regardless of the reigon’s quarantine alert level systems.

NCR granular alert level - barangay
Image credit: Judgefloro

This is because under this lockdown, no one will be allowed to go in or out except healthcare workers, overseas Filipino workers returning from abroad, and people who need medical attention.

What are quarantines with alert levels?

NCR granular alert level - quezon city
Quezon City
Image credit: Emman Foronda

On the city or municipal level, there will only be two quarantine classifications covering 5 alert levels.

The first, GCQ, will have four levels – Alert Level 1, 2, 3, and 4 – and the second, ECQ, will be equivalent to Alert Level 5.

NCR granular alert level - COVID-19 Alert Levels
Image credit: Presidential Communications

What each Alert Level means

Areas with low and decreasing COVID-19 case transmissions, total hospital bed utilization rates, and intensive care unit utilization rates, will be put under Alert Level 1. Establishments and activities there will be permitted to operate at full capacity.

Alert Level 2 allows movement of persons, but there will be restrictions based on age and comorbidities, as may be prescribed by LGUs.

NCR granular alert level - outdoor exercise
Image credit: @hellokimmypo

Individual outdoor exercises are permitted, while dine-in businesses, personal care services, entertainment and recreational venues, mass gatherings, funeral services, meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibits, and indoor tourist attractions can operate at a maximum of 50% capacity.

Other businesses and activities that are not mentioned above will be allowed to operate at full capacity under Alert Level 2.

NCR granular alert level - meetings

Alert Level 3 is for areas with high and/or increasing case counts, and increasing bed utilization and intensive care utilization rates.

Indoor dine-ins, personal care services, indoor tourist attractions, indoor venues for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions), indoor recreational venues, indoor in-person examinations, indoor sports venues, gaming establishments, in-person religious gatherings, funeral services, and social gatherings can operate at a maximum of 30% capacity under this alert level.

NCR granular alert level - salon

If an area is placed under Alert Level 4, medical clinics, make-up salons, wellness and therapy centers, tattooing and body piercing establishments, entertainment and recreational venues, mass gatherings, meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibits, staycations, and indoor tourist attractions cannot operate.

Outdoor dine-in services, barbershops, hair spas, nail spas, beauty salons, and physical religious gatherings can open up to 30% of their capacity.

Alert Level 5 includes areas with alarming case counts, total bed utilization rates, and intensive care unit utilization at a critical level. Areas placed under this alert level will follow the rules implemented under ECQ. The Department of Health (DOH) will decide the alert levels for each city or town every week.

To transition into this new framework of lockdown and quarantines, the whole of Metro Manila will first be placed under GCQ with Alert Level 4 beginning 16th September.

NCR to be placed under new lockdown & quarantines

From 16th September onwards, we will have to get familiarized with the new terminologies under the new lockdown & quarantines framework.

There will be no more various types of quarantine as before, but only two, and only specific areas with high COVID-19 transmissions will be put under strict, granular lockdown.

Here are things you can do at home while observing quarantine:

Cover image adapted from: Emman Foronda, Filinvest