METRO Manila and other areas currently under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) will be placed under a new quarantine classification after May 14, Malacañang said on Thursday, amid a decline in new cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. made the statement ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s expected announcement of the new quarantine status in the country during his televised public address on Thursday night.

“Magbabago po ng quarantine classification. Kung mayroon mang pagbabago ay iyong mga lugar under MECQ (There will be changes in quarantine classification. The changes will be applied to areas under MECQ),” Roque said during a virtual press briefing.

“At mayroon na po tayong formula diyan, eksperto na tayo lahat diyan – daily attack rate, two-week average attack rate at saka health care utilization rate (And we have a formula there, we based our decision on the Covid-19 daily attack rate, two-week average attack rate, and healthcare utilization rate),” he added.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is currently meeting to discuss whether or not to ease or extend the MECQ status in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other areas.

Roque, also the spokesman of the IATF, said the Philippines was ready to ease the quarantine rules in the country, considering the significant drop in Covid-19 cases.

“Ang sinisiguro lang natin kung paano natin masu-sustain itong ating mga gains. So, needless to say ang rekomendasyon po ay sang-ayon sa ating overall istratehiya na dahan-dahan ang pagbubukas ng ekonomiya para makamit ang health (We need to ensure that we will sustain these gains. So needless to say, our recommendation is based on our overall strategy to gradually reopen our economy to achieve total health),” Roque said.

Duterte extended in late April the MECQ in the NCR Plus (Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) Quirino, Abra, Ifugao, the City of Santiago in Isabela, and Zamboanga City until May 14.

He has also placed Cagayan, Apayao, and Benguet under an MECQ from May 10 to 23. The provinces had previously been under the less stringent general community quarantine (GCQ).

Baguio City, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Quezon, Iligan City, Davao City, Lanao del Sur, and Puerto Princesa City are under GCQ also until May 31.

The rest of the country is under modified general community quarantine.

The Philippines on Thursday registered 6,385 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total infections since the pandemic began to 1,124,724, the Department of Health reported.