DOH recommends extension of ECQ in 'NCR Plus' for another week

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DOH recommends extension of ECQ in 'NCR Plus' for another week
A resident walks along an almost empty street in Manila on March 29, 2021, on day one of government's imposing stricter lockdown, as hospitals in the capital struggle to cope with a surge in coronavirus infections.
AFP / Jam Sta. Rosa

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health recommended extending the implementation of enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces for another week to slow down the surge in COVID-19 cases.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel Tuesday, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the one week ECQ in the capital region, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna—dubbed as the “NCR Plus”—is too short for effects to be seen.

“One week really is short. We have recommended an extension. But of course, we need to balance it off with the economy that’s why we need to have enough basis for us to have this extension, Vergeire said.

The Philippines reported Monday 10,016 new COVID-19 infections, the highest since the pandemic began, taking the caseload to 731,894. Of these, 15.8% or 115,495 are active cases.

The health official said the strictest form of lockdown should “ideally” last for two weeks to see the effects of the interventions on the number of COVID-19 cases and the country’s health system.

But nothing is final yet as there will be an assessment of the progress before ECQ ends on Easter Sunday, April 4.

“We will be assessing before the end of this week so we will know if we still need to extend or there would just be stricter restrictions but the ECQ will be lifted,” Vergeire said.

Vergeire earlier said active COVID-19 cases in the Philippines could reach 430,000 by the end of April if the strictest quarantine measure was not enforced in “NCR Plus” bubble.

President Rodrigo Duterte announced Monday that Quirino province will revert to modified ECQ from April 1 to 15, while Santiago City in Isabela will be under MECQ for the entire month.

The entire Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan, Isabela, Batangas, Lanao del Sur as well as the cities of Tacloban in Leyte, Iligan in Lanao del Norte, Davao in Davao del Sur will be under general community quarantine next month.

The rest of the country will be under modified GCQ, or the government’s lowest quarantine classification.

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