With the continuous spread of the far more threatening Delta variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) disclosed Sunday, August 1, that more personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) will be dispatched on the streets ahead of the enforcement of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila. The ECQ will take effect from August 6 to 20.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said additional cops are needed in vaccination centers, markets, cash distribution sites, and other public places to ensure peace and order, and the safety of the people during the two-week lockdown.
As the National Capital Region (NCR)-plus border controls are already enforced, Año noted that only authorized persons outside of residence (APOR) are allowed to cross the quarantine checkpoints.
He also reiterated that the PNP shall ensure the unhampered travel of cargoes carrying food and other essential goods to dedicated checkpoints in Metro Manila.
“APORs should bring the required identification cards including, IATF IDs issued by regulatory agencies, and valid IDs or pertinent documentation issued by establishments allowed to operate,’’ Año said in an interview over GMA News Dobol B TV.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced last week that NCR will be placed under ECQ from August 6 to 20. Ahead of this, a general community quarantine (GCQ) with additional heightened restrictions was imposed in NCR, including the controlled interzonal movement of people, to contain the spread of the virus.
Año insisted that people including those infected with the COVID-19 Delta variant in Metro Manila will likely travel to other places before the imposition of ECQ so people’s movement need to be restricted early on to prevent the further transmission of the COVID-19.
He noted that one of the objectives of the ECQ in NCR was to shut down people’s mobility and cut the chain of COVID-19 transmission where the virus will be “incubated” and “die a natural death.”
“Kasi may incubation period e. Iba kasi itong (COVID-19) Delta variant ano. Kapag nagkaroon ng surge ang Delta variant nagiging explosive at exponential. Wala pang country dito sa ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) na nakapagpastop ng Delta variant without resorting to a hard lockdown sa mga major cities (There is an incubation period. The Delta variant is different. If a surge occurs, the Delta variant becomes explosive and exponential. There is no ASEAN country that has stopped the Delta variant without resorting to hard lockdowns in its major cities),’’ Año said.
The DILG chief noted that the other purposes of the lockdown include the ramping up of the COVID-19 vaccination, having an aggressive and intensive contact tracing process to identify and isolate those with COVID-19 especially the individuals infected by the Delta variant, and providing an additional or enhanced health care infrastructures.
Año admitted being extremely concerned with the COVID-19 Delta variant, citing that Indonesia has 21,000 COVID-19 infections a day with 1,700 recorded deaths daily while India has 44,000 COVID-19 infections a day with around 500 to 600 deaths every day.
Further, Año said that Malaysia and Thailand had Delta-driven surges, recording 16,000 COVID-19 infections a day with the cases still on the upswing.