COVID-19 task force: No decision yet on extension of Luzon quarantine
Nograles said there is a need to set the parameters to determine if the government’s measures were able to flatten the curve or stem the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019.
Boy Santos/File

COVID-19 task force: No decision yet on extension of Luzon quarantine

Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - April 4, 2020 - 10:38am

MANILA, Philippines (Update 1, 12:47 p.m.) — Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Saturday said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases has not yet reached a decision on whether to extend the quarantine across Luzon and parts of the Visayas and Mindanao.

“Actually mataas na debate ito sa IATF. Iba-iba 'yung aming pananaw pero number one siguro banggitin ko na ang tinitingnan talaga namin dito ay 'yung datos. So based talaga on the current data na hawak po natin,” Nograles said during the Saturday morning IATF virtual press briefer.

(Actually, the decision on quarantine extension is highly debated within the IATF. We have different perspectives but the number one consideration we’re looking at is the data. So it’s based on the current data we have.)

He said that the data is being analyzed by experts including scientists, epidemiologists, doctors and members of the academe who then forward their recommendation to the task force.

“So kahit doon pa lang sa mga rekomendasyon na binibigay nila sa IATF...una sa lahat, 'yung data sa totoo lang hindi pa siya gaanong conclusive kaya hanggang ngayon hindi pa makapagdesisyon ang IATF.”

(So even with the recommendations forwarded to the IATF...first of all, the data itself is not yet that conclusive so until now the task force can’t decide.)

However, Nograles said the task force has approved the guidelines which will be considered in the decision for the quarantine’s extension, total or partial lifting or selective implementation in particular areas.

RELATED: Task force to determine lockdown’s possible extension

“Yesterday, the IATF held its regular meeting via video con and discussed several matters with regard to the government's whole-of-nation campaign to contain the COVID-19 outbreak and manage its impact on our people, especially those in areas under the enhanced community quarantine or ECQ,” the Cabinet official said.

“Please allow me to share the approved items as stated in IATF Resolution 19.”

Among the criteria to be considered in possible quarantine extension include local trends in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 

Particularly, the disease’s epidemiological curve will be assessed for data like doubling time, acceleration and deceleration.

RELATED: COVID-19 strategy: Here's how Philippines can combat the pandemic, according to a data scientist

The capacity of the Philippine healthcare system will also be considered, alongside social, economic and security factors.

“Capacity of the healthcare system...includes, among others, the number and availability of quarantine, isolation and treatment facilities.

The capability to mount contact tracing, availability of personal protective equipment or PPEs to frontliners and the testing capacity of the country,” Nograles said.

He added that the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity will also be considered.

RELATED: Lockdown must be extended for months to prevent Italy-like scenario, data scientist says

Extension of 15 to 20 days

Meanwhile, presidential peace adviser and chief implementer of the country’s COVID-19 policy Carlito Galvez Jr. said that if the quarantine is hypothetically extended, it would be for a maximum period of 15 to 20 days based on current discussions.

“Gusto ko pong ipaalam sa publiko na maganda po ang nagawa ng lockdown. Nagkaroon po kami ng tinatawag scientific analysis na nai-slowdown ng lockdown ang spread ng virus,” Galvez said in a Saturday morning interview with DZBB.

(I would like to tell the public that the lockdown is bearing fruit. We’re having a slowdown in the spread of the virus due to the lockdown, based on our scientific analysis.)

“So with that, ang nakita po namin, isa sa mga malaking possibility na magkaroon po tayo ng extension ng 15 days or maybe 20 days para po talaga ma-sustain natin 'to...'Yun po ang pinag-uusapan po sa taas, pero hindi po natin pwedeng i-preempt 'yung desisyon ng ating mahal na presidente.”

(So with that, one of the likely possibilities we foresee is an extension of 15 days or maybe 20 days so we can truly sustain this progress...That’s what is being discussed by higher-ups, but we can’t preempt the decision of our beloved president.)

Galvez said that they are currently concentrating on Metro Manila especially Quezon City, as well as areas in Region 3 and Region 4.

“Kung titingnan natin, itong tatlong region na 'to ang pinaka-predominant na talagang 'yung contamination po mataas.”

(If we analyze, these three regions predominantly see the highest contamination.)

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with