COVID-19 task force TWG checking need to extend, expand Luzon quarantine


MANILA, Philippines — The decision to extend the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon is up to a technical working group within the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.

In a virtual presser Tuesday morning, Nograles said that the task force has directed its TWG, which is led by the Department of Health, to convene and set parameters that will be used in deciding the eventual total or partial lifting of the ECQ in Luzon.

The working group will also look into factors that will determine if expanding the enhanced community quarantine beyond Luzon is necessary, "subject to the approval, amendment or modification of the IATF."

Nograles said that the working group is still working on how the need to expand the quarantine will be determined.

"They will set parameters and when they present these to the IATF and the IATF adopts the guidelines and parameters, we will make these public," he added in Filipino.

Luzon has entered its third week under enhanced community quarantine as the government applies stringent measures to contain the COVID-19 spread that has infected at least 1,546 confirmed cases in the country and killed 78.

Nograles also reiterated that reports of extending the current lockdown period for additional 60 days is “fake news,” a term for misinformation or disinformation that government also uses for reports that are critical of it.

"The rumors are not true. That the ECQ will be extended for 60 days is 'fake news'. In this matter, science is in charge," he said.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año earlier said extending the quarantine period is not advisable since, he said, the current quarantine is already helping contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.

"It is not advisable to extend the lockdown because our economy will suffer greatly. Let’s take the remaining two weeks seriously so we can solve his," he was quoted as saying in Filipino in a radio interview with dzBB.

Amid the lockdown period, Congress granted President Rodrigo Duterte additional powers to address the pandemic.

The Office of the President submitted its report on government's actions—as held by the Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act— to the Congress past midnight Tuesday. — Kristine Joy Patag





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