Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday, April 26, said the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) imposed in Metro Manila and nearby provinces should be extended for another week or two.
The government is expected to decide this week on the quarantine classifications to be implemented in the country for the month of May.
“Kung titingnan natin ang datos, tingin ko talagang kinakailangan ipagpatuloy ang MECQ for another week or two dahil nga ‘yung ating health system capacity ay hindi masyadong nag-i-improve pa sa ngayon (If we look at the data, I think it is really necessary to extend the MECQ for another week or two because our health system capacity is not improving much yet),” Duque said in a TeleRadyo interview.
The Health chief explained that the intensive care unit (ICU) capacity in some cities are still within critical level classification.
“Although merong sinyales na bumababa ang kaso sa Kamaynilaan, bumabagal ang bagong mga cases, may kataasan pa rin ang average daily cases for the last two weeks (Although there are signs that the number of cases in Manila is declining, the new cases are slowing down, the average daily cases for the last two weeks are still high),” Duque said.
Experts studying the pandemic in the country have recommended that the government should maintain the MECQ in Metro Manila as to maintain the current downtrend in the number of daily cases in the region observed in the past weeks.
In their latest monitoring report on Sunday, April 25, OCTA Research Group said they are seeing a “downward trend” in the number of daily cases in the capital region, noting that the reproduction number (R) in NCR decreased to 0.93 for the week of April 18 to 24.
“The average number of new COVID-19 cases reported per day in the NCR was 3,841 over the past week, with a one-week growth rate of -20 percent,” the OCTA report said.
“The current average ratio is also 30 percent lower than the average of 5,552 during the peak of the three weeks ago,” it added.
Moreover, OCTA reported that hospital bed occupancy in the capital region decreased to 61 percent while intensive care unit (ICU) bed occupancy also declined to 71 percent.
OCTA Research fellow Professor Guido David said over the weekend that their will still be a high demand for hospitalization as the number of new infections remains high.
“Although nag improve na ‘yung trend natin,…the reality is puno pa rin ‘yung hospitals natin (Although our trend has improved,…the reality is that our hospitals are still full), and they will still be full for the next few weeks possibly,” David said in an interview over TeleRadyo.
“Maraming mangangailangan ng hospitals so we will not get immediate reprieve sa ating hospital system (So many will need hospitalization so we will not get immediate reprieve in our hospital system),” he added.
Duque said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is set to deliberate on Tuesday, April 26, the next quarantine classifications to be implemented in Metro Manila and other provinces for the month of May.
The MECQ imposed in Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, and Bulacan will end by April 30.