Metro Manila will be 'living experiment,' says Palace ahead of new virus restrictions

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 29 2020 05:45 PM

Metro Manila will be 'living experiment,' says Palace ahead of new virus restrictions 1
Motorists and bikers pass through Commonwealth Avenue early morning on June 1, 2020, the start of the general community quarantine in Metro Manila. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Metro Manila will be a "living experiment" in the country's fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Malacañang said Wednesday, days before new community quarantine protocols take effect.

Refusing to bare the would-be quarantine status for Metro Manila, epicenter of the virus outbreak, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Filipinos could expect an "invigorated" government response to the pandemic starting Aug. 1.

"Metro Manila will be a living experiment and it’s an experiment that we believe we can be successful at, and it will be something that we can be proud of," Roque said in an interview on CNN Philippines.

He previously said that the capital region may revert to the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine if COVID-19 cases surge past 85,000 by the end of the month. 

On Wednesday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines climbed to 85,486, of which 56,528 are active.

The government, according to Roque, will still base its decision on the community quarantine status of Metro Manila on the COVID-19 case doubling rate of the region as well as the capacity of its health sector to provide critical care to infected individuals.

The Palace mouthpiece also teased "major changes" in the government's coronavirus pandemic response starting Aug. 1.

"Let’s just say that things will not be the same, there will be major changes in our response to the pandemic," Roque said.

"The people will now see the difference in the response that we will have, it is now thoroughly invigorated, and part of it is we build capacity and we now have the capacity to do what we wanted from the very beginning," he added.

Economic managers have appealed to keep Metro Manila and neighboring Southern Tagalog region under general community quarantine to stimulate business activity as these two regions account for 67 percent of the economy.

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to announce quarantine levels for Metro Manila and the rest of the country on Thursday, July 30.