Metro Manila will be under general community quarantine or GCQ with "heightened restrictions" until the end of July, Malacañang said Friday after health authorities confirmed the local transmission of the Delta variant of coronavirus in the country.

From July 23 to 31, the capital region, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Davao de Oro, and Davao del Norte will be under GCQ with "heightened restrictions."

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"The same IATF rules would be observed when NCR was previously under GCQ with heightened restrictions," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

With the change in quarantine status, children aged 5 years old and above cannot go outdoors again.

The government's inter-agency task force on COVID-19 response also appealed to establishments to switch to "consider developing" more outdoor spaces in light of the local transmission of the highly contagious Delta variant.

"To enable the safe continuity of economic activities, the IATF asked establishments to consider developing and converting more outdoor spaces into temporary outdoor weekend markets and dining spaces and permanently accessible urban green spaces, outdoor recreational spaces and public sanitation facilities.," Roque said.

President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet with the government's pandemic task force on Saturday to discuss possible changes in the country's COVID-19 protocols due to the highly contagious Delta variant of coronavirus.

The Philippines also included Malaysia and Thailand in its travel ban until July 31, 2021, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

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Individuals with travel history to Malaysia and Thailand within the 14 days preceding arrival in the Philippines are covered by the travel ban while those who are already in transit to Manila may be allowed to enter before 12:01 a.m. of July 25.

Those who will be allowed to enter the Philippines will be required to undergo a 14-day facility-based quarantine and an RT-PCR test.

"This action is undertaken to prevent the further spread and community transmission of COVID-19 variants in the Philippines," Roque said.

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