Malacañang recognized that placing Metro Manila and four neighboring provinces under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was indeed a drastic move but said it was necessary because of the serious threats posed by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after President Duterte approved placing under ECQ Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, collectively known as the NCR-plus bubble, from March 29 to April 4 due to an alarming increase of COVID-19 cases in the country.
In a virtual presser on Saturday, Roque said the existing lockdown did not fail but the daily number of COVID-19 cases breaching the 9,000 mark requires a drastic solution.
“Nais natin talagang to take drastic measures dahil drastic po ang pagtaas ng mga kaso (We want to take drastic measures because the number of cases drastically increased as well) because of these new variants,” he said.
“Drastic threat warrants a drastic response,” he added.
The ECQ will last until April 4. However, Roque said this may change depending on the daily figures.
“Titignan po natin. Kaya po tayo nagsara, eh meron naman po tayong mga criteria ‘di ba po (We will see. We are going on lockdowns because we have criteria, right)?” he said.
Roque was referring to the average daily attack of the virus, the two-week average attack rate, and the healthcare utilization rate. He explained that in the NCR-plus bubble, the healthcare utilization rate already reached the red warning or the critical level.
Meanwhile, the Palace official said that the ECQ was also meant to give healthcare workers a breather or a time-out of at least a week.
“Inaasahan natin na dahil tayo ngayon ay sa ating mga tahanan na mababawasan yung mga kaso (Since we will be staying inside our homes, we expect a decrease in the number of cases),” Roque said.
“Hindi po natin pwede masyadong pagurin ang ating mga medical frontliners dahil pag sila ay narindi, sino po ang mag-aalaga sa atin (We cannot drive our medical frontliners to exhaustion because if they get fed up, who’s going to take care of us)?” he added.