Health Secretary Francisco Duque III believes the country is already ready to shift to a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
In a television interview on Monday, Feb. 22, the Health chief cited how the country was able to keep the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection rate at a manageable level.
“I think we are ready. I can say that because after one year we have managed to keep our infection rate manageable,” Duque said.
“When I say manageable, it’s at a level that has not overwhelmed the healthcare system,” he added.
Duque said while there were some spikes in Pasay and Navotas, local government units (LGUs) have stepped up their measures to address the situation.
“I think the interventions of early detection, isolation, treatment and reintegration systems are very much in placed and I’m quite confident that the LGUs are able to more effectively implement localized lockdowns,” he said.
Duque said there is really a need to balance health and livelihood especially since the economic development cluster has been saying that the damage to the economy might be irreversible if we continue on a high level of communitý quarantine.
“It’s a very difficult balancing act. We just have to keep monitoring and doing what we have been doing guiding the LGUs on improving their prevention interventions,” he said.
Duque, however, does not want to second guess the decision of President Duterte on the matter.
“You don’t second guess the President as the saying goes. The President also has other sources of information and its not limited to the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF). So, we have to respect whatever the President decides tonight,” he said.
The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has recommended that the whole Philippines be placed under MGCQ beginning March 1.