Lorenzana wary about new record high virus infections, but won’t retract prediction on Metro Manila’s readiness to return to GCQ

National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 chairperson Delfin Lorenzana admitted Wednesday that his prediction that Metro Manila is now "ready" to be placed under the less restrictive general community quarantine (GCQ) might be a hasty conclusion with the country posting a new record-high coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections.

"Palpak yata ang prediction ko (My prediction might be wrong)," Lorenzana, who is also the Defense secretary, told reporters.

Last Monday, Lorenzana claimed that Metro Manila will likely be placed under GCQ citing the supposed downward trend in the number of new cases being recorded by the Department of Health (DOH). 

He went on to compare the 6,352 new cases on August 4 -- a record-high -- with the 3,109 new cases on August 9 which was a record-low for the past week. 

"I think we are ready to go down. We cannot continue with the MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine)," he had said.

But on Tuesday, a day after he made the remark, the DOH recorded a new all-time high record of 6,958 new infections.

Despite this, Lorenzana said he will not take back his prediction about the readiness of Metro Manila for GCQ since there are still a few days left before the last day of MECQ.

"We still have five days to go before the end of MECQ. I may be proven right yet," he said.

"Hindi ko binawi (I did not take back what I said). My statement has a caveat," he insisted.

As of Tuesday, the DOH recorded a total of 139,538 cases with 2,312 deaths and 68,432 recoveries.

President Duterte placed Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal under MECQ from August 4 to 18 following the appeal of leading medical institutions for a two-week "timeout" to manage the surge of COVID-19 infections.

Duterte is expected to announce the new community quarantine status of the country on or before August 18.