WHO: No need to return to strict quarantine, local lockdowns enough for Metro Manila

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 30 2020 12:52 PM

A maintenance worker cleans the waiting shed at a bus stop near the MRT-3 Guadalupe Station, June 29, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Localized lockdowns in the capital region will suffice to control the transmission of COVID-19, the World Health Organization said Tuesday ahead of the President's expected announcement of new community quarantine protocols.

The COVID-19 situation in Metro Manila does not warrant a stricter lockdown, WHO Philippine representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said as he recommended that local government units impose localized lockdowns instead.

"We don't believe that the situation in the Metro requires a reversal [of a strict community quarantine]. We recognize the impact of this outbreak not only on health but also on the economy," he said in a virtual press briefing.

"There is a provision for localized lockdowns and while we are seeing an upsurge of cases within the NCR, in some localized cities, barangays, there is a need to make use of those provisions to suppress the transmission," he added.

The Philippines is set to adopt fresh community quarantine protocols on Wednesday.

Metro Manila transitioned to a general community quarantine at the start of the month from a modified enhanced community quarantine as the government sought to restart economic activity. 

The capital region has long been the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines but recently government officials have reported Cebu City and Cebu Province as among the emerging hotspots because of the recent spike in cases.

The WHO representative also reminded the public of the importance of the minimum health standards such as observing physical distancing and wearing face masks.

As of June 29, the Philippines has confirmed 36,438 COVID-19 cases. This includes 1,255 deaths and 9,956 recoveries.