MANILA, Philippines — Palace spokesman Harry Roque on Saturday shunned the calls of medical professionals and groups to revert Metro Manila to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status since lockdowns alone are not enough to combat the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Roque, in a statement, added that the strict lockdown in Metro Manila has “served its purpose,” and the government needs to “intensify other strategies.”
“Community quarantine alone, we repeat, is an insufficient response in controlling COVID-19,” Roque said.
“We are scaling up hospital capacity by increasing allocation of COVID-dedicated beds while hiring more doctors, nurses, and medical-personnel.”
“We are also engaging the community, through risk communication, social mobilization and advocacy to observe the minimum public health standards of wearing a mask, washing of hands, and keeping a physical distance,” he added.
Some 40 medical societies /groups called on President Rodrigo Duterte to revert Metro Manila back to ECQ status, saying that the two-week period would serve as a “time out to recalibrate the government’s COVID-19 strategies.”
Duterte, in a taped message to the nation aired Friday morning, announced that Metro Manila, Cebu and other areas will be under general community quarantine (GCQ) until Aug. 15, even as the country’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
As of Friday afternoon, 93,354 COVID-19 cases have been reported nationwide.
“The strict lockdown in Metro Manila has served its purpose, and we need to intensify other strategies,” Roque said.
“It is for this reason that the local government units of Metro Manila has been directed to implement a strict localized lockdown/ECQ in barangays where 80 percent of cases are located and the publication of these barangays,” he added.
He added that the GCQ classification of Metro Manila was a subject of “debate and discussion” by the members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).
“We welcome comments of various stakeholders and we will include them in future IATF meetings,”
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