Too early to say if NCR can move to more relaxed quarantine classification

It's too early to say if the National Capital Region (NCR) should move to a more relaxed quarantine classification.

Testing czar Vince Dizon (NTF AGAINST COVID-19 / MANILA BULLETIN)

Deputy Chief Implementer and Testing Czar Secretary Vince Dizon said this during an interview with CNN Philippines.

"We have to see where this is headed and we have to intensify our efforts in the next couple of weeks and we will see after a few weeks towards the end of September where we are and see what we can do," Dizon said.

The testing czar believes that the assessment of the University of the Philippines (UP) OCTA Research Team has shown that the country can get the transmission of the virus under control through hard work and intensified efforts at trying to flatten the curve.

"We saw this in Cebu in June when cases spiked tremendously in Cebu but now cases are at their all time low and we're starting to see that, as UP said, in Metro Manila and in CALABARZON," he said.

Dizon said the next step is to further intensify the efforts primarily ensuring that everybody complies with the minimum health standards of wearing masks, proper hygiene, washing of hands, and distancing of up to one meter as much as we can while at the same time intensifying the efforts at the local government unit level.

He added that local government units (LGUs) and the mayors should be commended for working really hard to try and detect and isolate positive cases of COVID-19 in the community.

Dizon said that while cases are going down, everyone must continue following the health protocols.

"In fact, we should be intensifying our efforts even more because as we know, when we open up the economy, when people start going out of their homes, going back to work, trying to do things under this new normal, there is a potential of a further spread because of more contact so we have to be more careful, we have to be more vigilant, and at the same time, we have to intensify all our efforts," he said.

The government has conducted almost three million tests which puts the country way ahead of its neighbors. However, he thinks that this still needs to be ramped up as the economy opens.

"We have to test more. We already tested significantly more since the beginning of this pandemic. We had our challenges in the beginning. We had very few laboratories. We had only one laboratory in February. Now we have 117," Dizon said.

"We've seen it in other countries that when other countries have opened up, cases spiked. And we need to be ready with the capacity in the coming weeks and we just need to ramp this up," he added.