Quarantine restrictions will remain until 50 percent of population gets vaccinated — Lorenzana

Published July 7, 2021, 4:46 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The national government will continue to enforce quarantine restrictions amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic until at least 50 percent of the country’s more than 100 million population is vaccinated.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana attends a pre-SONA forum on July 7, 2021 ahead of Pres. Duterte’s final SONA. (Screenshot courtesy of RTVM livestream)

This was declared by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana during the virtual pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) forum of the Peace and Order Cluster of the government on Wednesday, July 7.

“Mahirap pa magbigay ng timeline kung kalian ili-lift ang restrictions. Unang una, hindi pa malaking numero ang nababakunahan at hindi pa na-a-acquire ang herd immunity (It’s hard to set a timeline as to when the restrictions will be lifted First of all, the number of vaccinated population is not taht big and we have yet to achieve herd immunity),” said Lorenzana, who is also the chairman of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, the primary enforcer of all pandemic-related policies.

“Hangga’t hindi nababakunahan maybe ang 50 percent of our population baka manatili ang restrictions (Until 50 percent of our population is yet to be vaccinated, maybe the restrictions will remain in place),” he added.

However, he clarified that the quarantine restrictions will not be as strict as compared to what was implemented last year during the first outbreak of COVID-19.

“Hindi naman kasinggrabe ng ECQ [enhanced community quarantine] pero (It may not be as strict as ECQ but) there’s still some restrictions just to prevent the spread of the virus,” he stated.

“Lahat kami sa IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force] gusto rin namin na matanggal na itong restrictions dahil nakikita natin ang paghihirap ng mga mamamayan. Kaya nga lang, dapat makinig tayo sa mga eksperto, sa mga doktor at experts, at alam nila ang characteristics ng virus na ito (All of us in the IATF want to remove these restrictions because we see the predicament of the people. However, we need to listen to the experts and doctors who know the characteristics of this virus),” he noted.

Lorenzana reiterated that all the pandemic-related policies crafted by the IATF, which are implemented by the NTF, are based on science and facts.

“Hindi lang namin basta sinasabi na lockdown kundi kino-konsulta namin sila (We don’t just decide hastily on imposing lockdowns but we consult them [experts]),” the Defense chief said.

As of July 5, a total of 11.9 million doses of vaccines have already been administered nationwide. More than nine million individuals have receieved their first dose while 2.9 million got their second dose and were fully vaccinated.

The NTF aims to vaccinate around 70 million Filipinos by year-end to achieve herd immunity.

The government kicked off a series of pre-SONA fora to present the accomplishments and plans of President Duterte ahead of his sixth and final SONA on July 26.