Impact of MECQ to be felt in 3 weeks or a month, says DOH

It will take three weeks to a month before the impact of the stricter quarantine restrictions on the country’s health care amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is felt, the Department of Health said Monday.

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that it is still too early to assess whether the government can ease the quarantine restrictions as result of the stricter quarantine measure.

“It may take us three weeks after before we can see the effects of this lockdown that we have done. Hindi natin masasabi pa sa ngayon kung ano na talaga ang nangyayari (We can't tell what’s happening at the moment),” Vergeire said.

“But what we can tell you is we are doing the recalibrated strategies like the one hospital command, 'Oplan: Kalinga,' which are being strengthened. The impact of all of these strategies or whatever happened, we will see the effect maybe three weeks to one month,” the Health Undersecretary added, citing the 14-day incubation period of every patient.

The Health department, Vergeire said, will also have to assess whether the health system was relieved during the period. Indicators such as 100 percent contact tracing and testing of these contacts will also be considered.

“It is not just the cases that we are looking for when we assess a situation. We are also looking at the capacity of the health system. Kapag bumaba ang kaso, lumuwag na ba sa ospital (If the cases went down, did the capacity of the hospital improve)? We have to look at all of those indications before we can recommend to ease restrictions and before we can say that we are making things better,” Vergeire said.

“We will be reporting to the public our assessment three weeks to one month after this MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine),” the Health official said.

It was also disclosed that the Health department will conduct town hall meetings with the local government units to discuss different issues in the COVID-19 response.