The next quarantine classification of National Capital Region Plus for the month of May may be a “difficult decision” for President Duterte, Malacañang said Tuesday as the nation’s recorded cases of coronavirus soared past a million.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the President is expected to take into consideration the protection of the people from the coronavirus disease as well as from the problem of hunger when he decides on the risk classification of Metro Manila and other areas.
The government task force in charge of handling the pandemic response is expected to meet on Tuesday, April 27, to discuss the country’s coronavirus situation and submit a recommendation, particularly whether to extend or lift MECQ in NCR Plus, to President Duterte. The Chief Executive is expected to deliver a public address on Wednesday, April 28.
“Siyempre po napakabigat ang mga opinyon ng mga doktor lalung-lalo na sa klasipikasyon. Pero ang Presidente po, siyempre kinakailangan mas malawak po ang kaniyang pananaw dahil kung tayo po ay magsasalba ng ating mga kababayan laban sa COVID-19, dapat siguraduhin din ng Presidente na masasalba rin natin ang mas maraming mga kababayan laban po sa kagutuman (Of course, the opinion of the doctors on the quarantine carries weight but the President must have a wider view because if we want to save our people from COVID-19, the President must also ensure to save more of our people from hunger),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Tuesday.
Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IAITF) would hold a “long and thorough” discussion on the quarantine classification of the country for May. Risk classification of a place depends on factors including two-week attack rate, daily attack rate, and critical health care utilization rate.
“Ang tingin ko po ang rekomendasyon (I think the recommendation) will be a reasoned recommendation to the President na I expect will be also a difficult decision for the President,” he said.
“Mahirap po talaga ang desisyon pero magkakaroon po ng mahaba at saka thorough na balitaktakan mamayang hapon at ang tingin ko po ang rekomendasyon will be a reasoned recommendation to the President na I expect will be also a difficult decision for the President,” he added.
From a two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal have been placed under the less restrictive MECQ until the end of April to stem the spike in coronavirus cases. The provinces of Quirino and Abra as well as Santiago City, Isabela are also placed under the MECQ until April 30.
The MECQ rules included a stay-at-home rule except for going to work and getting essential needs as well as limited mass gatherings and business operations.
Areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) are Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Tacloban City, Iligan City, Davao City, Lanao del Sur, and Quezon. The rest of the Philippines stayed under the least restrictive modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
The country has endured a rapid increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, prompting authorities to impose lockdown measures to slow down the transmission. As of April 27, the country reported 7,204 new cases, pushing the total number to 1,013,618. The country’s death toll has reached 16,916.