MANILA - The enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and 4 nearby provinces should have been extended for 2 more weeks to curb the spread of COVID-19, a group of doctors and health workers said Tuesday.
"We are actually recommending for an extension of the ECQ because we believed that with the MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine), some of the restrictions that we imposed during the ECQ will actually be removed. So, this will again imperil the transmission of COVID-19 in the country," Dr. Maricar Limpin of the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 told ANC.
The capital region and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal will be under MECQ -- the third strictest of 4 lockdown levels -- from April 12 to 30. The so-called NCR Plus bubble is home to over 24 million people.
Santiago City in Isabela, Quirino province and Abra were also placed under the same quarantine restrictions for the same period.
For Limpin, vice president of Philippine College of Physicians, an extension of ECQ for another 2 weeks would have deterred people from going outside, which could drive again the transmission of COVID-19.
Retaining the hard lockdown will also urge the public to strictly adhere to minimum health protocols, she added.
Limpin, who works at the Philippine Heart Center, said most hospitals were still filled up due to the recent rise of coronavirus infections.
Health facilities are also running low on medicines to treat COVID-19 cases, she added.
"The emergency room is not just 100 percent filled up but it is more than a 100 percent filled up. Can you imagine how we are dealing with this? We are ready to respond to the needs of the people but we need to reduce the number of people getting COVID-19 infection," Limpin said.
To date, the Philippines has logged over 876,000 COVID-19 cases, of which more than 15,000 died from the disease.
The country currently has over 157,000 active cases or patients deemed infectious.