The one-month community quarantine period will help promote “stability” in the local government units’ efforts to address the coronavirus outbreak, Malacañang said Tuesday.
According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, it would be difficult for local government units to sustain their pandemic response if the quarantine classification changes every two weeks.
The government recently extended the duration of the country’s quarantine classification from the usual two weeks to one month.
Metro Manila, Bulacan, Batangas, Bacolod City and Tacloban City have been placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) from September 1 to September 30. Iligan City is the lone area under the more restrictive modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).
The rest of the country will stay under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the least restrictive of the lockdown levels, until the end of the month.
“Minabuti na po ng IATF na gawing isang buwan para magkaroon ng stability iyong iba’t ibang mga lokal na pamahalaan. Napakahirap po kasi kung magbabago ang rules every two weeks (The IATF decided to make it one month so our various local government units will have stability because it would be very difficult if the rules change every two weeks),” Roque said during a Palace press briefing.
“So ngayong every month na po, hindi lang siya magiging stable at mas malo-localize po kasi ngayon iyong mga ginagawa ng mga LGUs kasama na rin po diyan iyong mga localized at granular lockdowns. So parang mas mayroon pong continuity kung one month (So now, it will be every month. It will not only be more stable but it will be more localized because now our LGUs implement measures including localized and granular lockdowns. So there will be continuity if it is one month),” he said.
Despite the longer period of the quarantine classification, Roque said President Duterte will continue his weekly public address.
The IATF has issued Resolution No. 66 on August 27 adopting “major changes” in the COVID-19 risk classification method for places across the country.
The task force, in the resolution released Monday, said there will be continuation of the quarantine classification of places for September unless circumstances warrant an escalation or if applications for de-escalation are submitted and approved.
New parameters will also be used for the escalation and de-escalation of community quarantine classification.
Health care utilization rate of dedicated beds and equipment for COVID-19 will be considered to determine any escalation of quarantine level.
The factors for de-escalation, on the other hand, are health care utilization rate; daily attack rate, two week growth rate, and case doubling time; barangay with new cases in the past 14 days; surveillance, contact tracing and isolation efficiency; no local transmission from locally stranded individuals and returning overseas Filipinos index case for two weeks; establishments closed or workers affected due to COVID-19; clusters in workplace and establishments; food security indicators; social indicators on multidimensional deprivation; and adherence to minimum health standards.
The IATF has also revised the procedure for reporting and recommendations for risk classifications by a technical working group for data analytics.
There will now be a monthly reporting of the national epidemiologic data, health system capacity and socio-economic status. The health care utilization rate will also be reported every two weeks starting October 1 for assessment of possible escalation or risk classification of identified critical areas.
The task force has also approved the standardization of requirements for places applying de-escalation from GCQ to MGCQ. The LGUs attestation and proofs of capacity in health indicators as well as regional IATF concurrence with their claims must be presented to the screening and validation committee every 25th of the month.