MANILA

IATF still assessing situation in NCR, 4 provinces

MANILA. Jobless jeepney bus drivers line up to receive food donations as public transportation was again restricted during the lockdown in Quezon city, Philippines on Friday, August 7, 2020. (AP)

MALACAÑANG on Monday, August 10, 2020, said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has yet to decide whether Metro Manila (National Capital Region) and four neighboring provinces will remain under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, however, said Metro Manila is ready to be downgraded again to general community quarantine.

Some members of the IATF are set to brief President Rodrigo Duterte on the Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) situation Monday night, August 10, in Davao City.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the impact of the MECQ will be known after two to three weeks.

Metro Manila, or NCR, and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal reverted to MECQ beginning August 4 because of the rising cases of coronavirus infection.

“The incubation period for Covid-19, according to health experts, is 14 days so we just have to wait for that time to ascertain the health impact of the MECQ classification,” Roque said.

Lorenzana, who also chairs the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19, said he noticed that cases of infection were decreasing in Metro Manila.

“I think we are ready to go down. We cannot continue with the MECQ kasi nga alam na natin nasaan 'yung areas na may infection. 'Yun lang ang tutukan natin so that the others can also go to work," Lorenzana said in a television interview.

Metro Manila, which comprises the National Capital Region or NCR, accounts for the largest number of infections in the country.

Newly confirmed coronavirus cases in NCR reached only 1,700 on August 9, lesser than the 3,139 reported on August 4 and 2,669 on August 8.

Overall, cases of coronavirus infection increased by 36,559 in just nine days to 129,913 on August 9 from 93,354 on July 31, or an average of around 4,062 per day.

After Metro Manila, which is also the biggest region in the country, the provinces with the highest number of cases are Laguna, Cebu, Rizal and Cavite.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said he was optimistic that the infections will decrease following the MECQ.

“Titingnan natin ‘yung figures pero ako I am optimistic na with the 15 days MECQ bababa yan. Ang kailangan lang ay sumunod. Huwag na tayong maging pasaway, stay at home,” he said.

In a Laging Handa briefing last week, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said there are two indicators of a successful lockdown: if there is a high number of people complying with the minimum health standards, and if at least 95 percent of close contacts of the confirmed case have been traced.

Roque said any decision by the IATF requires “a delicate balancing of protecting and saving people’s health to protecting and saving the economic health of the nation.” (SunStar Philippines)


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