MANILA, Mar 4 (Mabuhay ) — Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Thursday raised the possibility that the entire Philippines might be placed under the least restrictive modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) by the second quarter of 2021.

Nograles said President Rodrigo Duterte might be convinced to impose the most relaxed quarantine status nationwide by April, considering that the country already has over 2 million coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines by that month.

“Unless he (Duterte) sees about 2 million vaccines being rolled out as a start, then that’s when he will start reconsidering about itong pagbubukas, more openly ng ating GCQ areas (opening more sectors in GCQ areas by) putting it under MGCQ,” he said in an online press briefing.

Duterte earlier rejected the proposal of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Metro Manila mayors to impose a nationwide MGCQ in March.

During the arrival of the initial 600,000 doses of China-donated Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine on Sunday, Duterte said he would place the entire country under MGCQ as soon as it secures enough vaccines.

Around 525,600 doses of Covid-19 shots developed by the United Kingdom’s AstraZeneca are also set to arrive in the country on Thursday night.

Nograles said the country is also expected to receive another 1 million doses of Sinovac vaccine this month.

“That means by March, we will have almost 2 million. And then that ends our first quarter. Hopefully, we can get even more,” he said. “By second quarter, we will have more than 2 million [vials already]. Baka ‘yun ‘yung indicative timeline na sinasabi ni Pangulo (Perhaps, that’s the indicative timeline the President is saying),” he said.

Duterte is “very happy” with the vaccine rollout, giving him “more confidence” to reconsider the proposed nationwide shift to MGCQ, Nograles said.

“So, I foresee this to be something in the works. Sa second quarter po, baka ito na ang tamang panahon na mag-shift na tayo sa MGCQ para sa buong Pilipinas (Perhaps, the second quarter is the right time for the proposed shift to MGCQ for the entire Philippines),” he said.

Metro Manila, Apayao, Baguio City, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Batangas, Tacloban City, Iligan City, Davao City, and Lanao del Sur have been placed under the stricter general community quarantine (GCQ) until March 31.

The rest of the country is already under MGCQ. (MNS)

READ NEXT: DA secures add’l hog deliveries for Metro Manila