Diseases expert recommends 'gradual' lifting of Luzon lockdown


Posted at Apr 22 2020 10:25 PM

MANILA - If the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon will be lifted, it should be gradual to determine if the curve of COVID-19 cases is flattening, an infectious diseases expert said Wednesday.

Dr. Edsel Salvana of the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease said that the gradual lifting is due to the duration of when test kit results are released in the country.

"Dapat dahan-dahan talaga, to give the data time to catch up, may delay kasi talaga," Salvana told radio DZMM.

Most test kits and laboratories in the country produce COVID-19 test results from 5 to 13 days, based on data from the Department of Health and medical institutions.

The World Health Organization earlier warned that any lifting of lockdowns to contain the spread of the coronavirus must be gradual, and if restrictions were to be relaxed too soon, there would be a resurgence of infections.

Lockdown measures have proved effective, and people must be ready for a new way of living to allow society to function while the coronavirus is being kept in check, said Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific.

Salvana said the Luzon mass quarantine is effective since the number of new COVID-19 cases being reported by the DOH is lessening this April compared to the surge of infections late March, two weeks after the lockdown was implemented.

"Kung titingnan, bumababa yung number of cases everyday, so yun yung iniisip natin na tinatawag na flattening the curve," he said.

"Kung walang ECQ, ang makikita mo diyan is every three days, nagdodoble yung total number of cases."

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque earlier said President Rodrigo Duterte would be “guided by science” on what to do next with the Luzon quarantine, as it nears its deadline on April 30.

As of Wednesday, the Philippines has logged 6,710 COVID-19 cases with 693 recoveries and 446 deaths.