President Duterte is yet to make up his mind on whether to ease or maintain the quarantine classification of the National Capital Region-plus (NCR-plus) bubble, Malacañang said.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement as the one-week extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal is set to expire on Sunday, April 11.
In a statement, Roque said the Chief Executive is still going over the possible effects before making his decision on the quarantine classification of the NCR-plus bubble.
“President Duterte is weighing the pros and cons before making his final decision regarding the quarantine classification of the National Capital Region-plus area,” Roque said Saturday afternoon.
“The Chief Executive would like to review and check pertinent information such as the Health Care Utilization Rate (HCUR) of the aforesaid area,” he added.
Roque assured the public that the Palace will make the necessary announcement once everything has been made final.
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases met on Saturday to discuss if the NCR-plus bubble can be relaxed to the modified ECQ (MECQ) or if the situation warrants an extension of the strictest quarantine classification.
The NCR-plus bubble was placed under ECQ on March 29 due to the alarming spike in COVID-19 cases. The initial week-long strict lockdown was extended for another week and will expire on April 11.
Roque said earlier this week that the NCR-plus bubble may be downgraded to MECQ if the prevention, detection, isolation, treatment, and reintegration scheme of the government will work in bringing down the number of cases. Another factor in making the decision is the healthcare utilization rate.
The Philippines on Saturday logged 12,674 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections to 853,209. So far, the country has 190,245 active cases.