MANILA, Philippines – Metro Manila may return to stricter enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) if the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation worsens in the capital region.
In a televised press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government may possibly reimpose ECQ on Metro Manila if hospitals in the region hit maximum capacity due to surge in COVID-19 cases.
“Pag lumala talaga, at mawalan tayo ng critical care capacity o di kaya ay case doubling rate ay bumalik sa dati na napakabilis, wala po tayong alternatibo,” he said.
“Yun nga po ang pinapakiusap sa ating kababayan, pag tayo bumalik sa mas estriktong quarantine, baka wala na po tayong hanapbuhay na pwedeng gawin,” he added.
Roque issued the statement after the country recorded a record-high 2,434 additional cases on Sunday, bringing the total cases to 44,254. Most of these infections were reported in Metro Manila.
Metro Manila is currently under general community quarantine where public transport and some business sectors have been allowed to resume operations at a limited capacity.
It was previously placed under ECQ for more than two months.
The Department of Health earlier said that the spike in infections was due to increased physical contact of the public following the easing of quarantine restrictions.
But Roque said the government had no choice but to loosen the quarantine measures in order to revitalize the economy.
“Wala naman tayong alternatibo kundi magbukas ng ekonomiya… Kung di pa po natin mabubuksan, mamya buhay nga tayo, mamatay naman tayo dahil wala tayong hanapbuhay,” he said.
The Palace official, meanwhile, belied reports that hospitals in Metro Manila have reached full capacity amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Roque said that as of July 5, Metro Manila’s critical care utilization is still at 63 percent or moderate risk level.
He also clarified that many hospitals have yet to breach the 30 percent hospital bed capacity for coronavirus patients.
“Nililinaw po namin na yung mga kumakalat na fake news na ubos na raw po ang hospital beds sa ating mga ospital, di po yan totoo,” he said.
Roque also revealed that Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega has been designated to head the Hospital One Incident Command which will determine the critical care utilization and hospital care capacity rate. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
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