Galvez on whether to lift, extend lockdown: We can't rush into normalcy

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 21 2020 09:31 PM

Throngs of people gather around market stalls on Blumentritt Street in Manila on April 21, 2020 even as police were asked to enforce physical distancing measures under the enhanced community quarantine. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA - National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. on Tuesday warned that lifting the Luzon-wide lockdown too soon may lead to serious consequences.

"We can't rush to normalcy. Kailangan dahan-dahan at calibrated ang ating mga hakbang," he said in a virtual press briefing.

(We have to take it slow and our steps should be calibrated.)

Galvez cited the situation of Singapore, which recently experienced a surge in coronavirus infections.

"Bakit nangyari ito? Bagama't ang pamahalaan ng Singapore ay nagpatupad ng mass testing at social distancing, hindi ito nagdeklara ng enhanced community quarantine o lockdown sa buong bansa," he said.

(Why did this happen? Because while Singapore enforced mass testing and social distancing, it did not declare an enhanced community quarantine or lockdown in the country.)

Singapore said Tuesday it recorded 1,111 new infections, taking its total COVID-19 cases to 9,125.

According to science experts, the lockdown imposed in Luzon, home to more than 50 million people, has been effective in curbing the spread of the disease, Galvez said.

"Masuwerte po tayo mayroon po tayong lockdown," he added.

[We're lucky we had a lockdown.)

As of Tuesday, the Philippines has recorded 6,599 coronavirus infections. The tally includes 437 people who succumbed to COVID-19 and 654 recoveries.

Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go said Tuesday President Rodrigo Duterte would decide on the fate of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon on Thursday, April 23, to give Filipinos ample time to prepare for possible changes.

Duterte will meet with the country's pandemic task force on the same day, Go said. There is a possibility that the enhanced community quarantine will be modified, he added.