Make ‘stay at home’ the ECQ default mindset — Nograles

Published August 4, 2021, 4:12 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The public is encouraged to stay home and away from others as much as possible especially when Metro Manila reverts to a hard lockdown this month in a bid to prevent the spread of the highly transmissible Delta coronavirus variant.

A photo of busy EDSA thoroughfare packed with vehicles and people crossing the overpass days after Metro Manila has been placed under a stricter GCQ ahead of a two-week ECQ from August 6 to 20, 2021. (Mark Balmores/Manila Bulletin)

According to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, the stay-at-home reminder will be among the movement controls to be implemented during the two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila.

From the weeklong stricter general community quarantine (GCQ), the National Capital Region (NCR) will shift to ECQ, the most restrictive of the four quarantine classifications, from August 6 to 20, 2021 to prevent an imminent spike in the coronavirus cases driven by the Delta variant. Under the government’s ECQ guidelines, the movement of all persons will be limited to accessing goods and services or going to work in permitted establishments.

“Everybody has to do their part na kung puwedeng huwag lumabas ng bahay, huwag lumabas ng bahay. ‘Yun yung dapat default, default mindset nating lahat (that if we can avoid going out of our house, do not go outside. That should be everyone’s default mindset),” Nograles said during the Go Negosyo-led virtual forum on the NCR lockdown Wednesday, August 4.

“Ang default mindset nating lahat, nandiyan ang Delta so huwag tayong lumabas ng bahay kung hindi kailangan, (Our default mindset should be — The Delta is here so do not go out of the house if it is not necessary),” he added.

READ: Gov’t to make NCR lockdown work to avoid extension — Nograles

Nograles explained that the government had to bring back Metro Manila to ECQ this month to slow down the virus spread and prevent overwhelming the hospitals with coronavirus cases. The temporary capacity limits on industries and activities, he added, would help the government “take control of a potential bigger problem.”

Apart from the stay-at-home rule, ECQ restrictions include capacity limits on certain businesses and public transport, ban on large gatherings except those related to government services and humanitarian activities, prohibition on face-to-face classes, and curfew hours.

This is the third time NCR will enter a hard lockdown to quell the persistent coronavirus outbreak. The government was previously reluctant to resort to such extreme measure due to its debilitating impact on the local economy as it tends to weaken business and consumer activities and cause job losses and rise in hunger level.

Nograles said authorities intend to “maximize” the two-week ECQ in Metro Manila to accelerate the vaccination drive, scale up test-trace-isolate strategy, ramp up hospital capacity, among others. Border control measures will also be intensified as a precaution against the virus spread during this period.

“Nakakatakot talaga (It is really scary) but we have prepared for this,” he said about the spread of the Delta variant.

“We knew that ECQ was one of the weapons in our arsenal but together with this ECQ, what we want to accomplish is ECQ, mass testing, genome sequencing, massive vaccination, make sure we continue to ramp up hospital bed capacities, talk to the private hospitals, increase capacities of the public hospital as well,” he added.

Nograles likewise assured the poor and vulnerable people in NCR would be given financial assistance as part of the government’s aid program during the ECQ.

READ: ‘Ayuda’ is forthcoming: Gov’t not insensitive to plight of people during ECQ — Nograles