MANILA — There will be no stricter quarantine measures for the whole country as Metro Manila sees more COVID-19 cases. However, Metro Manila cities are expected to have “localized responses,” which may include a strategy implemented in one of India’s slum areas, the Department of Health said Thursday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH met with Metro Manila mayors and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority on Wednesday to discuss the increasing number of cases in the region.
“We zeroed in in specific areas in Metro Manila kung saan talaga dapat nating bantayan ang mga lugar dito (where the areas should really be monitored),” she said, adding that they all agreed that a stricter implementation of the Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) strategy was needed.
For the past weeks, specific cities and areas in Metro Manila have been logging substantial rise in COVID-19 cases, which analysts said might be connected to the new and more transmissible variants detected in the country.
Only recently, three local cases of the South African variant was detected in Pasay City.
“Wala po sa usapan maghihigpit tayo ulit ng buong Metro Manila, yung stricter community quarantine measures. Ang usapan each locality should have their localized response,” Vergeire said.
(We did not discuss having stricter community quarantine measures for Metro Manila. What we talked about is that each locality should have their localized response.)
The health official pointed out that Pasay City already has 77 barangays under lockdown. Police have also been deployed to ensure that the residents are following health protocols.
She said experts have agreed that compliance to health standards would help curb the spread of the disease and prevent the development of mutations and variants. She said people should also be reminded to follow protocols properly, such as the proper wearing of face masks instead of having it on the chin or the forehead.
“Napag-usapan ulit yung Dharavi model, yung ating ginawa dati nung nagsu-surge tayo nung July & August. We implemented this in specific areas in the country,” Vergeire said.
(We again discussed the Dharavi model which was implemented when there was a surge in July and August. We implemented this in specific areas in the country.)
The Dharavi model, which is said to have been successful in curbing the spread of COVID-19 in dense urban areas, is named after a slum area in Mumbai. The World Health Organization said such model focused on community engagement and the basics of testing, tracing, isolating and treating the sick.
“Ito ang gustong ipa-adopt (They want us to adopt this). With this we have intensive contact tracing, intensive quarantining and isolation,” Vergeire said.
She said it would also entail the isolation of a COVID-19 contact within 24 hours.
She said they are also working on detecting more variant cases through genome sequencing.
“Meron tayong purposive sequencing ngayon para makita ang extent ng variant sa Metro Manila.” she said. “Maybe the results of the special run towards the end of the week.”
(We have purposive sequencing now to see the extend of the variant in Metro Manila…Maybe the results of the special run towards the end of the week.)
The OCTA Group previously said that the continued spread of the virus might result in as much as 2,200 new cases by the end of March in NCR. It said this might also push total cases in the country to 665,000. Philippines has so far listed over 580,000 cases.