Too early to tell whether MECQ is working or not – DOH

Published April 19, 2021, 2:23 PM

by Jhon Aldrin Casinas

It is still too early to tell whether the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) imposed in areas under the National Capital Region-plus (NCR-plus) bubble is working or not, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday, April 19.


DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire made the statement following the initial assessment of an expert studying the pandemic in the country that the MECQ may not be working as cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to rise following the downgrade of quarantine status.

“For now, as I have said, masyado pang maaga para magsabi tayo na hindi talaga umeepekto. Bigyan pa natin ng ilang araw (it’s too early for us to say that it doesn’t really work. Let’s give it a few more days.),” Vergeire said in a virtual press briefing.

“Tignan din natin yung naging epekto nitong mga nadagdag nating mga kama sa ating mga hospital at tsaka yung pagsasagawa ng institutionalized triage system sa local governments natin (Let’s also look at the impact of these additional beds in our hospitals and also the implementation of the institutionalized triage system in our local governments),” she added.

OCTA Research fellow Professor Guido David has raised concern that the MECQ may not be working in curbing the spread of COVID-19 in Metro Manila as the negative growth rate gained during the two-week ECQ has vanished following the easing of restrictions.

“It’s still too early to say, pwede pang mag reverse, pero sa totoo lang, we are getting very concerned na the MECQ is not working,” David said in a TeleRadyo interview on April 17.

“Sinasabi naman namin noon (What we have said before), the ECQ was working. Nagkaroon tayo ng negative growth rate (We had a negative growth rate). Now, maybe the MECQ is not working,” he added.

However, Vergeire noted that it took about 10 days after the government’s previous implementation of strict quarantine measures before COVID-19 cases have started to decline.

“Sa tingin namin, kailangan pa natin tignan ng ilang araw pa bago masabi natin na hindi siya nagwowork (We think we need to look at a few more days before we can say it didn’t work),” the health official said.

President Duterte has approved the recommendation to place areas in NCR-plus under MECQ until the end of April following the imposition of a two-week ECQ due to the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.