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Palace hopes COVID-19 cases slow down in September

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Palace hopes COVID-19 cases slow down in September
Traffic building up on Marcos Highway on Monday morning, Aug. 2, 2021 as new police-manned quarantine control points are set up on boundaries around Metro Manila.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos, file

MANILA, Philippines — Heightened restrictions, coupled with the two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila, can limit new COVID-19 cases to about 25,000 by end of September, far from the 525,000 forecast if no lockdown is done, Malacañang said yesterday.

“We expect that with the one-week additional and heightened restrictions and two-weeks ECQ, we can reduce the cases by end of September to more or less 25,000,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

“This is the reason why we implemented the additional and heightened restrictions, we hope it will be the equivalent of one more week ECQ. We will see. If we will not reach that, of course there may have to be a longer lockdown,” he added.

Metro Manila will be under GCQ with heightened restrictions until Thursday, before moving to the strictest lockdown status from Aug. 6 to 20.

Under this classification, indoor and al fresco dining, interzonal travel of non-APOR (authorized persons outside residence) are prohibited.

Meanwhile, Roque appealed yesterday to local government units (LGUs) not to impose a “no vaccine, no entry” rule yet as vaccine coverage in the country remains less than 50 percent.

Roque made the remark in response to the executive order issued by Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu Mayor Junard Chan banning non-vaccinated persons from entering department stores, supermarkets, grocery and convenience stores in the city.

“Placing such restrictions has consequences. (Unvaccinated) people might not be able to get assistance; someone should deliver groceries to them because they can’t buy groceries. We welcome the innovation but it is not necessary yet. Let’s wait for the time when we have already vaccinated more than 50 percent of our population,” Roque said.

New cases, deaths rising

For the fourth straight day, new COVID-19 cases have breached the 8,000 mark, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

Based on the DOH case bulletin, there were 8,167 new COVID-19 cases recorded yesterday, compared to the 8,562 cases on Friday; 8,147 cases on Saturday and 8,735 cases on Sunday.

Yesterday’s daily tally raised to 1.6 million the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country with 62,615 active cases.

Meanwhile, the death toll rose to 28,093 after 77 fatalities. On the other hand, 9,095 patients have recovered, raising recoveries to 1.5 million.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire yesterday said half of 81 provinces in the country recorded rising COVID-19 cases and health care utilization rates (HCUR).

“Half of the provinces are being flagged, along with some highly urbanized cities and independent component cities. They are showing rising cases and HCUR,” she noted.

She also flagged LGUs on the rising COVID-19 deaths, noting that while case fatality rate remains at 1.75 percent, the actual number of fatalities is increasing.

She also urged LGUs to ramp up the implementation of safety protocols and to vaccinate vulnerable sectors. – Sheila Crisostomo

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