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3-week hard lockdown vs COVID-19 spike may not be doable: Palace

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Malacañang on Thursday said it may be hard to pull off a 3-week hard lockdown in some areas to curb record-highs in COVID-19 cases.  

"Sa ngayon po parang hindi po doable ‘yan dahil nakikita naman po natin na ayaw nating lalo pang dumami ang hanay ng mga nagugutom," said Palace spokesman Harry Roque. 

"We are aiming for total health, bawasan ang pagdami ng kaso, bawasan ang hanay ng mga nagugutom," he said in a press briefing. 

(For now, it does not seem doable because we see that we do not want to let more people go hungry. We are aiming for total health, reduce cases and the number of those suffering from hunger.) 

The Philippines passed the 2 million mark in coronavirus cases on Wednesday, a fifth of those recorded in the past month alone. Medical staff are overwhelmed and 103 of them have died during the pandemic, among some 33,500 coronavirus fatalities overall.

Cases continued to rise even as Metro Manila and several provinces were placed under a 2-week enhanced community quarantine, the strictest restriction level, in August. 

The interior department recently recommended replacing broad quarantine restrictions with granular lockdowns to arrest the uptick in cases. 

The Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 will discuss this in a meeting on Friday, said Roque.

"Isinasapinal na po 'yan, so abangan na lang natin," he said. "I will make the necessary announcement 'pag natapos na po." 

(That is being finalized so let's just wait for it.)

— With a report from Reuters