ECQ in NCR as ‘last ever lockdown’ is gov’t wish — Roque

Published August 3, 2021, 2:51 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government is crossing its fingers that the upcoming two-week strict lockdown in Metro Manila will be its last as more people get vaccinated against the coronavirus disease.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members prior to his talk to the people at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on August 2, 2021. (Malacañang)

According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, the government aims to scale up vaccination to boost their protection against the coronavirus and hopefully remove the need for another restrictive lockdown.

The National Capital Region (NCR) will revert to enhanced community quarantine from August 6 to 20, 2021 to curb the rising cases of coronavirus fueled by the Delta variant. Before shifting to the hard lockdown, Metro Manila has been placed on the stricter general community quarantine this week.

Authorities intend to use the lockdown period to further improve health care facilities, scale up the vaccination, particularly inoculate additional 4 million people in the capital region, among other COVID-19 preventive measures, in a bid to slow down the local COVID-19 transmission.

“Ang gusto lang natin (We want), we hope that this will be our last ever lockdown. Bakit po? Kasi tumataas na ang numero ng ating pagbabakuna (Why? because our vaccination number is increasing),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Tuesday, August 3.

Once population protection is attained initially in Metro Manila, Roque expressed hope that COVID-19 cases that cause serious illness and death could be thwarted. With more people getting vaccinated, he also said the coronavirus disease could eventually become an “ordinary cold.”

“Inaasahan natin na bagama’t ang numero ay tataas pa, bagama’t tumataas din ang ating mga nababakunahan na ay ‘yung mga nangyayari sa mga bansa kagaya ng Israel at Estados Unidos ay mangyayari rin dito. Maski tumaas pa ang numero, hindi na siłą nagkakasakit ng seryoso o hindi na namamatay (We expect that although the cases are rising, the number of people getting vaccination is also increasing, the situation in countries like Israel and United States will also hopefully happen here. Even though the cases are increasing, they no longer fall seriously ill or die),” he said.

Roque made the latest remarks in a bid to defend the government’s pandemic response from critics who claimed the NCR lockdown was already too late amid the rise in COVID-19 cases.

The Palace official however said critics were wrong to allege the government was “reactive,” and “not proactive” in dealing with the Delta threat.

The declaration of a weeklong stricter general community quarantine (GCQ) in the capital region ahead of the ECQ was guided by scientific data on the coronavirus situation, Roque insisted.

“We had foresight. We were guided by science and we are preparing for what we hope to be our last-ever lockdown pero nakasalalay ‘yan sa pagbabakuna natin ng ating mga kababayan (but that will depend on our vaccination of our people),” he said.

More 9.3 million people in Metro Manila and other areas with high coronavirus transmission have so far been fully vaccinated since the inoculation program started last March.

Based on the vaccination figures as of August 2, the government has administered 21,210,129 million coronavirus jabs, including 11,840,504 who received their first shots and 9,369,625 who got their second dose. The daily vaccination rate reached 346,585.

The country’s cases of coronavirus have soared to more than 1.6 million, including 62,615 active cases and 28,093 deaths as of August 2.