Defense chief Delfin Lorenzana, who is also the chairman of the National Task Force on COVID-19, on Monday said the National Capital Region could be placed under general community quarantine after August 18.
“Yeah, I think the trend is going down. Yesterday mga 3,000 na lang ‘yung bagong kaso down from 6,000 previously,” Lorenzana said.
“I think we are ready to go down, we cannot continue with the MECQ kasi nga alam na natin nasaan ‘yung areas na may infection. ‘Yun lang ang tutukan natin so that the others can also go to work,” he added.
According to Lorenzana, government officials have been visiting local government units to discuss with officials why COVID-19 cases are increasing in some areas.
“We are going around towns, pumunta kami sa Laguna last week, about two days later we went to Pateros. We are consulting with the local officials kung ano ang nangyayari, bakit tumataas ‘yung kanilang kaso,” he said.
Lorenzana said they found out that workers often have common areas such as canteens and smoking areas where there could be a transmission of the virus.
Lorenzana said if COVID-19 cases will still spike, the government has to discover why infections continue to increase.
He said the inter-agency task force could recommend to retain the MECQ if the data is really high.
“Pag tumaas pa rin ito, we have to find out saan nanggagaling ito, kung bakit tumataas. There is a reason kung bakit tumataas ito. Kung tumaas-taas talaga, baka magdecide ‘yung IATF na i-recommend na maintain pa rin ang MECQ,” Lorenzana said.
He also said GCQ could be achieved if local government units would strictly implement quarantine protocols.
“Malalaman natin kung hindi sila nag-implement kung tataas pa rin ‘yung kaso sa kanila,” Lorenzana said.
He vowed that the national government is ready to provide assistance to localities.
The National Capital Region as well as the provinces of Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, and Rizal have been placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) from August 4 until August 18 after health frontliners requested the government for a two-week stricter quarantine so they could rest and recalibrate strategies against COVID-19.
In an interview on GMA News’ Unang Balita, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the Metro Manila Council (MMC) has no recommendation yet if the MECQ shall be extended in NCR.
He also said the technical working group would still present data and their recommendation on the next quarantine status by Wednesday.
“Hindi pa magkakaroon ng announcement diyan kasi ang ating TWG sa data analytics ay sa Wednesday pa naman ito magpi-present at doon ire-recommend kung ano ‘yung magiging sunod na classification,” Año said.
“May basehan naman tayo diyan, tinitingnan ‘yung case doubling rate, ‘yung ating health care utilization rate, at saka ‘yung modifiers… socio economic risks at saka ‘yung comparative rising cases so baka siguro later pa ang pronouncement ng Pangulo diyan,” he added./Stacy Ang