A Facebook user edited an old infographic to claim that the National Capital Region or Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal were placed on general community quarantine (GCQ) status with heightened restrictions from May 15 to 31 this year.
“This announcement is FAKE. The government no longer uses quarantine levels such as ‘GCQ’ in favor of the Alert Level system, the Department of Health (DOH)’s official Facebook page said in a May 13 public advisory.
The original graphic posted by GMA News on May 13, 2021, carried the text “SIMULA (from) MAY 15 HANGGANG (until) MAY 31, 2021” and not “SIMULA MAY 15 HANGGANG MAY 31, 2022,” as claimed in the altered announcement.
On May 14, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) announced that Metro Manila and 85 other areas in the country are to remain on Alert Level 1 status from May 15 to 31, according to a news release from the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
Areas under this alert level are those where COVID-19 case transmission, total bed utilization, and use of intensive care units are low. There are no restrictions on movement within the same city, and travel to different provinces is permitted, according to IATF guidelines as of Nov. 18, 2021.
Minimum health protocols – wearing face masks and physical distancing – must be observed indoors and outdoors under this alert status. All establishments and venues can operate at full-seating capacity, while most social activities are allowed.
When Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal were under GCQ with heightened restrictions last year, only essential travel in and out was allowed. Indoor dining was at 20% seating capacity, while outdoor or alfresco dining was allowed at 50% of the venue or seating capacity, a May 13, 2021 report from the PCOO stated.
Outdoor tourist attractions could operate at 30% capacity of venues with strict adherence to minimum public health standards, the report added.
The fake infographic, which garnered 993 comments and 17,000 shares on FB, appeared as multiple media organizations published news on May 13 about the DOH reporting 14 detected cases of the BA.2.12.1 Omicron subvariant in Manila and Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)