By Argyll Geducos
Only a hair’s breadth saved the National Capital Region (NCR) from reverting to the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) because its case doubling rate of COVID19 cases was below the requirement to be classified under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ).
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after President Duterte decided to keep Metro Manila under the GCQ and place Cebu City under ECQ, the strictest quarantine, until June 30.
In an interview with ANC’s “Headstart” on Wednesday, Roque said Metro Manila had a case doubling rate of 6.9 days but the required rate to be classified under the GCQ was seven days.
“Metro Manila was even pasangawa for GCQ (Metro Manila barely qualified for GCQ). To qualify for GCQ or moderate risk, you need to have a case doubling rate of 7 but Metro Manila’s case doubling rate of 6.9,” he said.
“So if we were strict about it, Metro Manila would have been back to modified ECQ. But 6.9 is almost 7 and that is why we qualified for GCQ,” he added.
Roque likewise explained that despite both being classified as high-risk areas, Metro Manila has a substantial critical rate capacity compared to Cebu City.
“Our occupancy rate for our critical care wards, as well as isolation facilities, is only at around 30 to 40 percent so we have about 60 to 70 percent capacity still,” he said.
“Cebu City, on the other hand, has a case doubling rate of 6.7 and it has already 100 percent capacity for ICU beds and 93 percent capacity for its isolation facilities, which is now classified as dangerous,” he added.
Roque said he will ask the Department of Transportation (DOTr) if the agency will proceed with the second phase of their transportation plan for NCR because the region failed to transition to modified GCQ.
However, Roque said DOTr will most likely add more to the 16 bus routes as the demand for transportation become more necessary.
There’s a Phase II on the transport plans of DOTr to increase public transportation, I just don’t know if they will proceed with the second phase because the assumption there was we are going to downgrade to MGCQ. So I’ll have to verify if DOTR will proceed with its Phase II,” Roque said.
Under Phase I which covers the period from June 1 to 21, trains and bus augmentation, taxis, ride-hailing services, shuttle services, Point-to-Point buses, and bicycles will be allowed to operate, at limited capacity.
Tricycles are also allowed subject to the approval of the concerned local government unit.
Provincial buses, however, are not allowed to enter Metro Manila.
For Phase II which is from June 22 to 30, Public Utility Buses (PUBs), modern PUVs, and UV Express will already be allowed to operate at limited passenger capacity.