Luzon lockdown 'might be relaxed' on April 15: Sotto


Posted at Apr 02 2020 09:42 PM

A hospital worker wearing a protective face mask rests on a cushion placed on top of pews as a funeral chapel temporarily shelters health workers from a nearby hospital taking in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients, in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines April 1, 2020. Picture taken April 1, 2020. Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

MANILA - The enhanced community quarantine in Luzon might be toned down on April 15, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Thursday.

Asked if earlier reports that the lockdown may be extended to two weeks after April 12, Sotto said he's been hearing the opposite.

"I'm hearing that on April 15, the lockdown might be relaxed. It might not be an enhanced community quarantine, it might [lower] to community quarantine, depending on the city," he told ANC.

"I can only surmise, and perhaps we can be given a heads-up by the executive department by the earliest possible time," he added.

A lawmaker earlier urged government to extend the month-long lockdown of Luzon, home to about half of the country's 100 million people, to contain the coronavirus pandemic. 

Lifting the quarantine on April 12 could lead to a resurgence of the deadly virus in urban centers, Caloocan City 2nd District Rep. Edgar Erice said.

“I have been to more than a hundred villages in my city the past 2 weeks and I am afraid that if COVID-19 reach[es] these areas, all hell will break loose,” he said. 

A Filipino scientist agreed with Erice's appeal for the lockdown's, saying it would take 2 to 3 months for the Philippines to flatten the curve of novel coronavirus infections. 

Dr. Darwin Bandoy, an assistant professor at the University of California, Davis, said the Philippines' coronavirus cases could go as high as 250,000 cases if no preventive measures will be implemented.

“My model is a do-nothing scenario, meaning we don't implement lockdown, the peak number of cases in my estimate is around 250,000, that includes the asymptomatics but the approximate estimate is 1 to 3 percent of the 250,000 would be severe cases,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier placed Luzon under the enhanced quarantine after coronavirus cases in the northern island rapidly rose early March.

As of Thursday, the Philippines has confirmed 2,633 cases of the virus, with 51 recoveries and 107 deaths.