ECQ extension within ‘NCR Plus bubble’ not yet confirmed amid rumors circulating in group chats

March 31, 2021 - 7:05 PM
A police officer mans a checkpoint as the country's capital returns to stricter lockdown measures amid rising coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, March 29, 2021. (Reuters/Lisa Marie David)

Is the enhanced community quarantine over the so-called “NCR Plus bubble” or Greater Manila Area (National Capital Region, Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna and Rizal) extended?

A news outlet clarified its report about the supposed extension of the ECQ over the Greater Manila Area after it caused fear and panic among some Filipinos.

One PH in a video report said that NCR and four nearby provinces would remain in strict lockdown until April 4 and not April 15, as its previous report said.

“PAGLILINAW: Nananatiling hanggang April 4, 2021 lamang ang pagpapatupad ng ECQ sa NCR plus bubble at wala pang anunsyo ang pamahalaan at IATF kung ito ay papalawigin,” it said on its Facebook on Wednesday.


Prior to the clarification, screengrabs of the new outlet’s previous report about the quarantine classifications for the month of April surfaced on social media and messaging platforms.

It indicated that the Greater Manila Area would be placed under ECQ from April 1 to 15.

A Facebook user also shared a post that used a name of a government office claiming that the Greater Manila Area will be under ECQ for the whole month of April.

“(Akala) ko hanggang 4 ka lang, hindi pala. Nag-(extend) ka pa talaga,” she said with a series of crying emojis.

Facebook post sharing false information on ECQ extension
(Screengrab by Interaksyon)

A look at the government office’s page, however, does not yield the particular post.

The ECQ extension rumor also reached local Twitter.

“Legit ba? Extended ECQ hanggang April 15?” an online user asked.

“IS THE ECQ REALLY EXTENDED UNTIL APRIL 15?” exclaimed another Twitter user, who added that she heard it from her officemate.

It was only last Monday that President Rodrigo Duterte announced the quarantine classifications of the country’s regions for the next month.

He reverted six provinces to stricter quarantine measures in view of the continuous surge in COVID-19 cases but the quarantine status for the Greater Manila Area after April 4 remains “subject to further review.”

The Palace said that extending ECQ in the area is the “absolute last resort” and added that the government wants to give people the chance to resume their livelihoods.

The Department of Health, however, said that extending the strict lockdown in the Greater Manila Area for another two weeks would help curb the spike of COVID-19 cases.

In a Palace briefing on Wednesday, National Task Force against COVID-19 medical adviser Dr. Ted Herbosa said that he also thinks there is a need for the ECQ extension.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases will meet on Saturday to finalize the quarantine recommendations.