MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte does not feel the need to lock down the entire Metro Manila amid the soar in number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.
This was the president’s response to the proposal of House Ways and Means Chair Jose Salceda to place the entire National Capital Region (NCR) under lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.
But Duterte is not discounting the government’s need to balance and consider all measures amid the situation.
“We haven’t reached that kind of contamination. Iisa-isa lang. With this transmission, you want to close down the economy at this time?” Duterte said.
“There will be a time I suppose, I hope not. I hope God will have mercy on the Filipino people. It is too early for that. Hindi ko sinasabi na hihintayin mo magkasakit lahat (I’m not saying that we wait until everyone is infected), it’s not that, but you have to balance,” he added.
The Department of Health (DOH), likewise, agreed that it is not yet time to declare a lockdown in any place in the Philippines.
“Sa ngayon nasa Sub-Level 1 tayo so wala pa tayo sa estado na kailangan na nating mag- lockdown (We are now in Sub-Level 1 so we are not yet in need of lockdown),” explained Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
“Kapag nagpunta tayo sa Sub-Level 2 ng code alert red natin, (ibig sabihin) meron na po tayong sustained community transmission. Iyon po ang ating trigger para magsabi na pwede na tayong gumamit ng mga strategic interventions na ito katulad ng lockdown, (Once we upgrade our code alert red to Sub-Level 2, that means we already have sustained community transmission. That’s the trigger for us to finally use that strategic intervention of declaring a lockdown),” the official added.
Nonetheless, President Duterte said the government may consider a lockdown if the country records five to 20,000 deaths due to COVID-19. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)