Lifting or extending Luzon lockdown still up in the air, says Nograles


Posted at Apr 04 2020 11:53 AM | Updated as of Apr 04 2020 12:07 PM

MANILA - Government has yet to decide whether to lift or extend the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine to address the coronavirus pandemic, an official said Saturday.

President Rodrigo Duterte had placed Luzon under lockdown from March 17 until April 12, but there have been calls to extend the quarantine to ensure effective containment. 

"Hindi pa kami prepared na magbigay ng rekomendasyon tungkol sa partial lifting ba or extension, or ilang lugar na lang ba kasi hindi pa talaga conclusive ang data," Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), said in an online press briefing Saturday. 

(We are not ready to give a recommendation if we will have a partial lifting or extension or just in specific places because data is not conclusive.)

To help authorities decide the lockdown period, the task force has approved several parameters, he said. 

"Inapprove na po ng IATF ang batayan na gagamitin nila para sa desisyong ito," Nograles said.

(The IATF has approved the basis to be used for this decision.)

Among the criteria being considered by the government's coronavirus task force are trends in the COVID-19 epidemic curve, which refers to the projected number of people expected to contract the disease over a period of time.

The government will also be examining the capacity of the health care system, which includes availability of quarantine and treatment facilities, protective gear for health care workers and testing capacity.

Social, economic and security factors in the Luzon island group, which is home to nearly half of the country's 100 million people, will also be evaluated, Nograles said.

Luzon has recorded the most number of COVID-19 cases since the global outbreak reached the country. 

"For this purpose, the Department of Health (DOH) is hereby directed to convene all concerned agencies and to finalize the aggregation and analysis of all relevant data applicable to the contained area, subject to the deliberation of the IATF and final determination by the President," he added.

The technical working group is also ordered to come up with recommendations on the possible implementation of a general or enhanced community quarantine in localities in the Visayas and Mindanao.

To date, the number of coronavirus infections in the Philippines is 3,018. The total figure includes 136 deaths and 52 people who recovered from the disease.