The government is monitoring the NCR Plus bubble to decide whether or not the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) must be extended beyond April 4.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, in a statement Friday, said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) will meet on Saturday to discuss the Covid-19 situation in the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal and give recommendations to President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Iniiwasan po nating tumaas pa lalo ang bilang ng mga kaso at kumalat pa lalo ito sa ibang lugar kaya tayo nag-impose ng ECQ hanggang April 4 (The government wants to avoid a spike in cases that’s why ECQ was imposed until April 4),” he said.
“Umaapela ako sa IATF na pag-aralan ito ng mabuti at magkaroon ng cost-benefit analysis sa kanilang rekomendasyon (I appeal to the IATF to carefully study the situation and provide cost-benefit analysis in its recommendations),” Go added.
Regardless of quarantine restrictions, the senator emphasized the need for discipline, vigilance, and cooperation to curb the spread of the virus.
“Kahit ano pa mang quarantine restrictions ang iimplementa natin, mas importante dito ang disiplina, pag-iingat, at kooperasyon ng lahat. Sumunod tayo sa mga itinakdang health protocols para hindi na magkahawahan at hindi na kailanganin pang pahabain ang ECQ (Whatever restrictions we implement, it is more important that we have discipline, be careful and comply with protocols so we won’t have to be extend ECQ),” he said.
Between balancing the economy and health of the people, Go stressed “our primordial concern now is to save lives.”
He, however, said extending the ECQ will fully achieve the desired result of controlling the rise in Covid-19 cases.
There were 8,920 new cases and 105 recoveries on Thursday.
“Sikapin nating hindi na sana habaan pa ang ECQ dahil malaking dagok ito sa kabuhayan ng mga Pilipino. Pero kung patuloy pa rin ang pagtaas ng kaso ng Covid-19, wala tayong choice kundi maghigpit pa rin dahil babagsak naman ang ating health system kapag mapuno pa lalo ang mga ospital at isolation facilities (Let’s strive to end the ECQ because it is taking its toll on the economy but if cases will continue to rise, an extension is the only choice because the healthcare system will suffer once hospitals and isolation facilities reach full capacity),” he added.
Go said experts advise the completion of the 14-day cycle to ensure the infected have been isolated.
The Department of Health has been expanding modular health facilities in Metro Manila to cope with the spike in new cases.
Bed capacities in modular health facilities, such as the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City and Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Tala, Caloocan City, have been increased, Go said.
Go, chair of the Senate Committee on Health, said saving the lives of Filipinos, which includes addressing hunger and poverty, is the primordial concern of the government.
He thus urged concerned agencies, particularly the Department of Social Welfare and Development, to expedite the distribution of assistance to the poor population affected by ECQ and are qualified for the supplemental amelioration assistance earlier approved by President Duterte.
“Higit kumulang 22.9 milyong mahihirap na katao na bumubuo ng 80 porsyento ng populasyon ng NCR at mga probinsya ng Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite at Laguna na naka-ECQ ngayon ang mabibigyan ng ayuda (About 22.9 million who comprise the underprivileged sector, or 80 percent of the population in NCR and the provinces of Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna, are qualified to receive assistance),” Go said, adding that local government units must help speed up the process. (PNA)