IATF eyeing lockdown extension



Philippine authorities are eyeing to recommend an extension of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), a week before the lockdown was set to end.

According to the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), officials are set to discuss on April 6 whether they will recommend an extension or the lifting of the ECQ.

“Itutuloy na lang namin ‘yung discussions namin tomorrow. Baka mas malinawagan na siya hopefully by tomorrow, and then tignan natin baka by tomorrow may mare-recommend na kami kay [Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte] or otherwise. Tignan natin,” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Super Radyo dzBB.

The ECQ was placed over Luzon 12 midnight on March 17.

It would end on 12 midnight of  April 13.

The ECQ restricted travel within the region in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus disease.

The government over the weekend announced five factors that would be based on whether the ECQ will be lifted or not:   the epidemiological trend, health capacity, social capacity, economic capacity, and security concerns.

Nograles explained that the IATF delayed making a decision on the ECQ, as more data needed to be considered before a decision could be arrived at.

“May initial data pero noong Friday, noong Biyernes kasi, habang dine-debate namin ito, hindi pa ganoon ka-conclusive kasi ‘yung numbers, so ang nadesisyunan namin dahil ang hirap nga gumawa ng desisyon, ay i-ano muna namin, ipagpaliban muna namin,” he said.

“Hintayin muna namin itong weekend na ‘to — Saturday, Sunday — para balikan na lang namin ito tomorrow, sa Monday,” added Nograles.

Nograles explained that given the incubation period of COVID-19, more data was needed to indicate the current trend of the illness in the country.

“Kunyari nagpa-test siya ngayon, so maaring ‘yung infection niya nangyari either five days or 14 days before the test so ito, dahil nga po we’re still basically on our third week ng quarantine, at ‘yung pag-akyat ng number ng COVID-19, ito ‘yung sinasabi ng mga eksperto masyado pang maaga,” he stated.

“Kasi kasi ka-count backwards ka, five to 14 days, that’s like two weeks ago… Kaya ang sinasabi inconclusive ‘yung mga numbers,” elaborated Nograles.

Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementor of the National Action Plan against COVID-19, over the weekend said that should the ECQ be extended, it may possibly be only for a maximum of 15 days.

“Ultimately, si Pangulong Duterte naman ang magdedesisyon. Kami as task force ay magrerekomenda ng aming recommendations base sa mga scientific data and evidence at findings mula sa ating mga eksperto na epidemiologists, mathematicians, at academe, at iba iba pang mga eksperto dito sa pagbasa ng trend,” said Nograles./Stacy Ang

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