ECQ in NCR as ‘last ever lockdown,’ hopefully

Published August 6, 2021, 12:02 AM

by Manila Bulletin

The government’s wish is that the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region (NCR) from August 6 to 20 will be the “last ever lockdown.”

This goal is based on the premise that the government will be able to ramp up its vaccination efforts and thereby contain the quick spread of COVID-19 driven by the deadly Delta variant.

As of August 4, the government has administered 21,883,781 coronavirus jabs nationwide, including 12,050,315 who received their first shots and 9,828,466 who got their second dose equivalent to 13.8 percent of target total vaccination. The daily vaccination rate has also increased significantly to 529,911 as more supplies became available. These are based on data available at DOH website.

Demonstrating its willpower, the government has announced it was acceding to the Metro Manila mayors’ request for four million vaccine doses to be used during the two-week lockdown. At an accelerated pace of 250,000 jabs a day, this will take 16 days to administer — an ambitious target according to the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman who says the current high-end daily average is 200,000 jabs.

There is a sense of urgency to fight the pandemic more effectively given the serious threats posed by the Delta variant. The Department of Health has declared that there is already community transmission of the Delta COVID-19 variant as cases have been detected in various parts of the country and there is a rise in the number of infections.

Focused and smarter efforts are clearly in order, as we are now dealing with a “fitter” virus that, latest findings show, has already caused a good number of breakthrough infections even among those who have been vaccinated. Even while the authoritative US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has modified its messaging, it must be known that its latest advisory is based on a limited sample in a specific area.

Be that as it may, the thrust of current precautionary measures against the Delta variant is on following the known health and safety protocols: masking even indoors, physical distancing, spending more time outdoors, and using ventilation to reduce viral transmission through aerosolized particles.

“Last-ever lockdown” may be a formidable target but concerted efforts to attain it would certainly be beneficial for Metro Manilans who yearn for respite, relief and recovery from this debilitating pandemic.