THE Department of Health (DOH) is in favor of extending the modified enhanced community quarantine in the National Capital Region Plus for another week or two to further decrease the number of COVID-19 cases.
Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said the MECQ, which has been imposed until the end of the month, should be extended because the healthcare systems capacity have yet to improve significantly.
“Iyong ibang siyudad sa Metro Manila, critical pa ang risk classification ng kanilang ICU (intensive care unit),” he added.
Duque, who chairs the Inter-Agency Task Force which is the policy-making body of the government’s COVID-19 response, said the IATF will convene Tuesday to discuss whether the MECQ protocol—which is in effect until April 30—will be extended or otherwise.
“There will be a new recommendation from the sub-technical working group on data analytics. What we are looking at is the number of cases per 100,000 populations,” he said.
The Philippines has 77,075 active COVID-19 cases as of this posting. Of this number, 8,162 new COVID-19 cases were added on April 25.
Meanwhile Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the capacity of the healthcare system will be of “paramount” importance in the government’s decision on whether to loosen COVID-19-related restrictions in NCR Plus after April.
Vergeire reiterated that hospital system is still challenged by the surge of COVID-19 cases despite the return of NCR Plus (Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) to a stricter quarantine classification.
She noted that while the number of new cases and the seven-day moving average have shown a slight decrease, the average daily attack rate of COVID-19 remains high.
“’Pag tiningnan nga po natin ‘yung mga ospital natin, hindi pa rin po masyadong nagbabago although nakapag-expand tayo nang kaunti for the ICU beds kaya medyo bumaba po ‘yung utilization natin,” the DOH official said.
“Kailangan kasi nakaka-manage na ‘yung healthcare system natin bago tayo unti-unting magbukas and this would be paramount in our decision that would be made by IATF by tomorrow,” she added