By Lance Arevada
PHOTO: Reuters
Unvaccinated individuals in the National Capital Region (NCR) are now restricted to go outside and must stay at home at all times except in doing essential activities, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced on Monday.

MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos said that all Metro Manila Mayors have approved “in principle” the enforcement of stricter restrictions to regulate the movement of unvaccinated persons under the imposition of Alert Level 3 in NCR.

According to the released resolution, those who are not vaccinated are required to remain in their residences at all times and are likewise prohibited from access to indoor and outdoor establishments and in public transportation.

These restrictions are imposed except for the procurement of essential goods and services, such as basic goods, public utilities, work, and medical and dental necessities. Individual outdoor exercises are still allowed, provided that they will be within the respective area of residence.

Moreover, unvaccinated individuals are mandated to undergo an RT-PCR test and present a negative result every two weeks at their own expense for them to be admitted for onsite work.

The stricter regulations will apply not only for the unvaccinated but also for those who have only received their first vaccine dose.

“Ngayon kung titingnan natin itong Omicron na ito, karamihan po ng naapektuhan talaga at napupuruhan ay ‘yung mga walang bakuna.... Kung ikaw ay hindi pa bakunado, ‘yung mobility mo ay maraming restrictions para na rin maproteksyonan ka ito’y habang mayroon tayong Alert Level 3,” Abalos said.

Abalos also said the enhanced restrictions would be enforced through the issuance of ordinances by each local government unit (LGU) in Metro Manila.

“Para kang nag-ECQ only for the unvaccinated, for their own protection... Ito ay temporary lamang. Ito lamang ay habang nasa Alert Level 3 tayo o mas mataas na 4 para maprotektahan din yung mga walang bakuna. Sana maunawaan po ng lahat ito,” he added.

These restrictions were announced as the Department of Health (DOH) has classified Metro Manila and the whole country to high risk for COVID-19 amid the emergence of more cases of Omicron variant and resurgence of active cases within the past week.

As of January 3, about 4,084 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the country, amounting to a total of 24,992 active cases. 

Meanwhile, below are the general Alert Level 3 guidelines for NCR, as per IATF.