THE PHILIPPINE capital and nearby cities are ready for further lockdown easing, the presidential palace said on Thursday, as President Rodrigo R. Duterte was set to announce his decision on the matter last night.

“The National Capital Region is ready, based on the data that we have seen, but that really depends on the cooperation of everyone,” presidential spokesman Harry L. Roque said at a news briefing on Thursday.

An inter-agency task force made up of Cabinet secretaries met on Wednesday to discuss the lockdown in Metro Manila that started on March 17.

Mr. Duterte locked down Luzon island in mid-March, suspending work, classes and public transportation to contain the pandemic.

The lockdown in some areas has since been relaxed, while Metro Manila, where infections are largely concentrated, remains under an altered quarantine until the end of the month. Some businesses have been allowed with minimal workforce.

Mr. Roque said even if the lockdown is shifted to a more relaxed general community quarantine, the government could always order a stricter enhanced community quarantine if it’s shown that the infection rate has quickened.

Roque said the government was confident that Filipinos would observe health safety measures even if the lockdown is eased. — Gillian M. Cortez