WHETHER some restrictions are eased or not, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday, May 11, stressed that community quarantine protocols would remain in Metro Manila and other high-risk areas after May 15.
“ECQ, GCQ - yung CQ nandoon pa rin. We are still under community quarantine. Life will not be back to normal, hanggang wala pong bakuna,” Roque said in a virtual press briefing Monday.
Roque was reacting to apprehensions that cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) would surge if the ECQ is lifted on May 15.
“Nasa kamay po natin kung ano ang mangyayari, kung tataas o bababa ang kaso ng Covid-19,” he added.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. Monday and submit their recommendation to President Rodrigo Duterte by 5 p.m. at the earliest.
Roque said the task force will consider the recommendation of Metro Manila mayors. Of the 17 mayors, 10 were in favor of extending the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Metro Manila and several other high-risk areas are under an extended ECQ until May 15 while the rest of the country shifted to general community quarantine (GCQ) on May 1.
Other ECQ areas are Central Luzon except Aurora, Calabarzon, Pangasinan, Benguet, Iloilo, Cebu, Davao City, Bacolod City, Albay and Zamboanga City.
Roque reiterated his previous statement that some cities in Metro Manila might shift to GCQ while those with the highest cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19), like Quezon City and Manila, will likely remain under ECQ.
“Ang sinabi ko po last Saturday - ang buong Metro Manila po ay hindi magiging ECQ, ang buong Metro Manila ay hindi magiging GCQ,” he said.
(Metro Manila will not be placed entirely under ECQ. Neither will it be placed entirely under GCQ.)
He said the President will base his decision on the number of cases in a city or town, infection rate, and availability of critical care facilities.
Under ECQ, public transportation systems are suspended and everyone, except essential workers, are mandated to stay at home. Businesses, except those engaged in essential goods and services, are closed.
Under GCQ, public transportation systems will be allowed to resume operations at limited capacity, and selected establishments are allowed to reopen with only a percentage of the workforce and provided minimum health standards and social distancing are observed.
Among the minimum health standards are wearing of face masks, temperature checks and establishment of sanitation facilities.
As of May 10, there were a total of 10,794 coronavirus infections in the Philippines, including 719 deaths and 1,924 patients who have recovered.
Department of Health officials reported that the case doubling rate has lengthened to five days in Metro Manila and up to seven days in some areas outside the capital region.
They have not, however, disclosed the backlog of specimens for novel coronavirus diagnostic tests.
There are more than 20 accredited testing laboratories nationwide that conduct an average of 5,000 tests per day.
Government targets to bring the total up to 78 by end-May to achieve the targeted 30,000 tests per day. (MVI/SunStar Philippines)