Malacañang on Monday admitted that the government is unlikely to relax the quarantine classification of Metro Manila on July 16 following a continuous spike in the number of confirmed coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the region.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said this development is based on the recommendation of Metro Manila mayors and members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
“That was not part of any recommendation made. That’s all I can say until i-announce po ng Presidente (until the President makes the announcement),” he said in a virtual Palace briefing.
Even if the Duterte administration’s economic managers are pushing for the reopening of the economy, he said the transition of the National Capital Region from the current general community quarantine (GCQ) until July 15 to the least restrictive modified GCQ (MGCQ) is still out of the question.
“‘Yan ang gustong mangyari ng mga economic managers pero hindi po ‘yan naging rekomendasyon ng kahit sino, mayor o IATF, sa mga naganap na magpupulong (That’s what the economic managers want, but it is not the recommendation made by anyone, mayors of IATF, during the meetings),” he said.
He said current Covid-19 data on case doubling rate and critical care capacity does not indicate that NCR can already transition to the least restrictive quarantine classification.
“Datos po ang tinitignan natin kung tayo po ay magluluwag at siguro po at this point, the data does not indicate na pupuwedeng magluwag po at least sa Metro Manila (Data will be the basis for easing quarantine restrictions but at this point, the data does not indicate that we can ease further at least in Metro Manila),” he said.
While Duterte has yet to announce the new quarantine classifications, National Task Force (NTF) on Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said there would be some areas whose status could “escalate” considering a rise in severe and critical Covid-19 cases.
“Hindi po namin ibibigay ngayon kasi si Presidente po ang mag-announce pero meron pong mag-e-escalate at yung mga area po na ito ay yung nakikita nating nagkakaroon ng new cases and spikes (We cannot give the classification now because it’s the President who will announce but there will be areas that will escalate and these areas are those with new cases and spikes),” he said.
Citing the World Health Organization (WHO), Roque expressed optimism that the jump of Covid-19 cases in the Philippines can still be controlled.
“Sa nakaraan na anim na linggo, dumoble po ang mga kaso sa iba’t ibang parte ng mundo, ayon sa World Health Organization. Pero kaya naman po ito ma-control (For the past six weeks, the number doubled all over the world, according to the WHO. But this can still be controlled),” he said.
Roque pointed out that Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was earlier quoted in reports saying the pandemic is still controllable.
“There are many examples from around the world that have shown that even if the outbreak is intense, it can still be brought back under control,” he said.
On Sunday, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said a shift of Metro Manila to MGCQ is one of the options being considered on July 16 as long as localized lockdowns are imposed immediately.
The second option which will be recommended to Duterte, he said, is to retain the GCQ in Metro Manila.
Duterte is expected to announce the new quarantine classifications on July 15, Roque said.
As of Monday, there are a total of 56,259 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country, of which 16,046 are recoveries and 1,534 are deaths.
The country currently has a 2.7 percent Covid-19 mortality rate, which is below the 5.5 percent global average. (PNA)