Metro Manila may revert to MECQ if residents become complacent — Palace

Published July 16, 2020, 6:28 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Metro Manila may revert to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) if the residents become complacent and the health data will not improve in the next two weeks, Malacañang warned on Thursday.

In this file photo taken on April 21, 2020, a member of the Philippine National Police Special Action Forces uses a megaphone to remind shoppers to practice social distancing during a government imposed enhanced quarantine as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Manila. (Photo by Maria TAN / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

The capital region has retained its general community quarantine (GCQ) status after case doubling rate remained “flat” around eight days while the critical care use has increased, according to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque.

“Napagkasunduan na GCQ pa rin ang Metro Manila sa susunod na dalawang linggo bagama’t kamuntik na nga pong maging MECQ at narekonsidera po ng Pangulo dahil nga po sa pangako ng mga mayor ng Metro Manila na mas papaigtingin pa nila ang local lockdowns at ang T3 – testing, tracing and treatment. (It was agreed to keep Metro Manila under GCQ in the next two weeks although it nearly returned to MECQ. The President reconsidered after the Metro Manila mayors promised to step up local lockdowns and T3 – testing, tracing and treatment),” Roque said during a televised press briefing. 

“Ngunit kung wala nga pong pagbabago sa numero at magiging pabaya ang mga tao, posibleng bumalik po ang Metro Manila sa MECQ. (But if there will be no change in the numbers and people will become complacent, it is possible that Metro Manila will return to MECQ),” he said.

As the government steps up testing, tracing and treatment efforts, Roque urged the residents of Metro Manila to do their part and observe health measures to help slow down the transmission. He said vulnerable members of the population like senior citizens, pregnant women and those with comorbidity should stay at home if possible.

“Ang nais natin siyempre, kung kaya nating makamit ang zero transmission, bakit hindi. (We hope to attain zero transmission if possible),” he said.

To help curb the spread of the coronavirus, the Inter-Agency Task Force for Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) has also directed the NCR regional task force to monitor health system capacity and utilization rates across health facilities, and ensure strict compliance  to surveillance, isolation treatment, and minimum health system standards.

For priorities areas or barangays under localized lockdown, the task force has also directed local government units to submit to the COVID-Kaya Platform the daily trend of active case, number and percent of population; cases in community isolation facility, healthy facility and at home; percent of close contacts traced and contacts in quarantine; number of utilization of community isolation beds; met health system capacity targets and utilization; and COVID Special Teams investigations and results. The local government units are also required to submit their detailed plans on the strict enforcement of minimum public health standards for priority areas/barangays.

The task force has also directed other provinces and cities to observe health standards especially in healthcare settings, wet markets, supermarkets, government offices and workplaces.

They must also implement localized community quarantine and availability of identified quarantine facilities in priority/critical areas with community transmission; immediate facility-based isolation of returning citizens, suspect and probable cases; scale up local health system capacity especially for isolation and critical care, and submit complete and accurate data.

To revitalize the economy in Metro Manila and Region 4-A, the IATF has also directed the trade, labor and transportation departments to ensure complementary increase of the business sector capacity vis-à-vis available transportation.