Metro Manila mayors sought another 15-day extension of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ)

Metro Manila mayors sought another 15-day extension of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ)

MANILA – Malacañang on Monday said it will be more difficult to observe social distancing and other protocols against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) if more areas shift from enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to less-stringent general community quarantine (GCQ).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this reaction four days before the ECQ being implemented in areas with high cases of Covid-19 expires on May 15.

He said the implementation of ECQ and GCQ both require social distancing, good hygiene, and other precautionary measures and we still have to implement these protocols to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.

“We acknowledge, this will be a tougher situation under GCQ pero ginagawa po natin ito dahil kinakailangan naman magkaroon ng hanapbuhay (but we are doing this because there is a need for people to have livelihood),” Roque said.

Earlier, Metro Manila mayors sought another 15-day extension of the ECQ.

Roque said the recommendation of the Metro Manila mayors will be considered.

Meanwhile, he explained that the decision whether to shift from ECQ to GCQ is precisely the issue of the health sector’s capacity to provide critical care to those who might get infected.

“Ngayon naman po, nakikita natin na (Now, we can see that) we have capacity to take in more critical care patients kaya nga po mayroong mga (That’s why there will be) areas that will be declared under GCQ instead of ECQ,” he said.

According to President Rodrigo Duterte’s seventh weekly report to Congress on the government’s Covid-19 response, there are 1,721 Covid-19 referral and accepting hospitals across the country that can accommodate Covid-19 patients, with 23 designated DOH Covid-referral hospitals as of May 7.

In total, there are 12,430 dedicated beds for Covid-19 with an average of 40.77 percent occupancy rate.

As for quarantine facilities, 71 out of 117 converted evacuation centers are already being utilized for such purposes.

The government can conduct 12,000 tests daily with 26 testing laboratories and aims to conduct 30,000 tests daily with 78 Covid-19 testing centers by May 30.

There are four mega swabbing centers in Metro Manila–the Palacio de Maynila Tent in Roxas Boulevard, the Enderun Tent in Taguig City, the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, and the Philippine Arena, also a patient care center, in Bocaue, Bulacan.

As of Monday (May 11), there are 11,086 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country, of which 726 are deaths and 1,999 are recoveries, according to the Department of Health. (PNA)

By Azer Parrocha  May 11, 2020