Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has authorized the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and Metro Manila mayors to place the entire capital under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to 20, 2021, amid the threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant. In a televised announcement last July 30, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque says the decision was ‘painful’ but imperative due to the Delta variant. When asked if the government will provide financial aid to citizens and workers affected by the lockdown, Roque replied: “Most likely, but will seek confirmation.” Nonetheless, the ongoing rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the metropolis will remain unrestrained, Roque clarified. Metro Manila mayors are in favor of the quarantine to avoid further spread of the disease, eventually preventing inadequacy in ICU beds and other hospital needs, in the event that the cases soar due to the variant.

According to the Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH), if health protocols would not be strictly observed, the Delta variant could intensify Metro Manila’s daily new COVID-19 cases to up to 11,000 by the end of September. Under the ECQ, only the essential establishments and industries are allowed to operate. Hospitals, groceries, pharmacies, delivery/courier services, some manufacturing companies, and business process outsourcing (BPO) will remain fully serviceable.