MANILA (UPDATE) - The easing of the quarantine level in Metro Manila to the least stringent restriction in March is unlikely, the OCTA Research Group said Tuesday.
The shift to modified general community quarantine, the lowest of 4 quarantine levels, will depend on the country's vaccine rollout, said OCTA Research fellow professor Guido David.
"Most likely malabo kasi I doubt makakapag rollout tayo ng 1 million doses sa Metro Manila within February," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(It's unlikely to happen because I doubt we can rollout 1 million doses in Metro Manila within February.)
"Mahirap pa masabi kasi depende sa rollout. 'Yung March baka masyado pa maaga. Baka April pa."
(It's hard to say because it would depend on the rollout. March might be too early, maybe April.)
The timing of the government's decision to ease the quarantine level is "very critical" as it aims to roll out inoculations, David said.
"Ayaw din naman kasi natin magkaroon ng surge. Made-delay tayo 'pag maraming nakacheck-in na may sintomas sa hospitals," he said.
(We don't want a surge. It would delay our rollout if many are admitted in the hospitals.)
"'Yung mga doctors and nurse mahihirapan, sila rin ang maga-administer ng vaccine sa'tin. Keep the pandemic in check habang hinihintay natin tutal malapit na rin naman."
(It would make it difficult for our doctors and nurses, who will administer the vaccine. So we have to keep the pandemic in check while we wait for the rollout, which is soon.)
Government should await the results of its vaccination program before deciding whether to ease quarantine measures, said Dr. Maricar Limpin, vice president of the Philippine College of Physicians.
"Siguro magandang tingnan muna natin ang magiging epekto, tingnan natin paano mapapa-implement ang bakuna, yung programa bago tayo mag-isip ng pagpapaluwag ng quarantine measure dito sa ating bansa," she said.
(It's better to see what will be the effect of the vaccination program, how it will be implemented before we think of easing quarantine measures.)
"Depende po 'yan sa magiging response din ng ating mga kababayan although, I think, slowly nakukumbinsi na natin at napapakita natin na mas importante talagang magpabakuna."
(It will also depend on the public's response although, I think, slowly we're convincing them and able to show them that it's important to get vaccinated.)
David, meantime, said he "generally does not agree" with government's policy of mandating the wearing of face masks inside private vehicles.
"Hindi naman superspreader event din sa maliit na sasakyan.
Ganun pa man naiintindihan ko sa implementation. Baka 'yun ang point... Mahirap yan i-implement. Sa sobrang dami ng sasakyan implementation problem din 'yan" he said.
(Being inside small vehicles is not a superspreader event, but I can understand if it is for implementation. It's hard to implement because there are so many vehicles.)
"Generally 'di ako agree sa idea. Pero kung kailangan, ako mismo magsusuot ako ng face mask."
(I generally do not agree with the idea but if needed, I will wear a face mask.)