MANILA - The Department of Health wants local governments in Metro Manila to ramp up their contact tracing to 24 hours as part of the criteria of easing the region's quarantine classification, an official said Monday.
The capital region, home to a tenth of the country's population, is under modified enhanced community quarantine until April 30 following a surge in virus cases.
Metro Manila mayors might decide later Monday on the quarantine classification of the region following government's economic impact assessment, according to Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro.
Teodoro said the Metro Manila Council had met with the Department of Health on Sunday to discuss possible scenarios of quarantine restrictions, including easing the region to general community quarantine, extending MECQ for 2 weeks, and MECQ extension for a month.
"Bumaba ang kaso pero at critical level pa rin ang dami ng COVID cases natin kaya kailangan ipagpatuloy ang contact tracing natin," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(Cases have declined but it's still at a critical level so we need to continue our contact tracing.)
"Sa ngayon 5.5 days ang contact tracing natin, ibig sabihin sa loob ng 5 araw, nakukuha o nakikita natin ang close contact ng isang kaso. Gusto maipababa ng DOH up to 24 hours. Sinabi nila ito ang ideal condition para makapagbago tayo ng quarantine condition."
(Right now it takes us up to 5.5 days to find close contacts of a virus patient. The DOH wants it to decrease to 24 hours. They said this is the ideal condition for us to change our quarantine classification.)
The DOH and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) will meet at 2 p.m. Monday to discuss the economic impact of the quarantine classifications, Teodoro said.
The MMC will meet at 4 p.m. Monday to discuss the national government's assessment, he added.
"Ang malaking problema natin ay 'yung ekonomiya natin na dumadami patuloy ang mga nawawalan ng trabaho. 'Yung maraming nagsasarang kompanya at ito ang magiging subject ng patuloy na pagpupulong ng DOH at NEDA mamayang alas-2 ng hapon," he said.
(Our big problem is the economy, many are still losing jobs and many companies are closing. This will be the subject of DOH and NEDA's meeting later at 2 p.m.)
The Philippines on Sunday logged 8,162 more COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 997,523, with 77,075 active infections.
The DOH earlier noted a slight decline in new coronavirus infections in the past week, after stricter lockdowns were reintroduced in Metro Manila and its nearby provinces of Rizal, Bulacan, Laguna, and Cavite.
Hospitals around the metro earlier said they still felt overwhelmed with the number of COVID-19 cases even as government has expanded bed capacity.