A government adviser on Wednesday urged the country's pandemic response leaders to de-escalate the quarantine level of Metro Manila by a notch, coupled with localized lockdowns in areas with clustering of COVID-19 cases.
The capital region's 13 million people returned to the toughest of 4 lockdown levels, the enhanced community quarantine, on Aug. 6. Its current ECQ status will lapse on April 20.
The Philippines on Tuesday recorded around 10,000 new cases, down from some 14,000 new daily infections 2 days before, noted Dr. Ted Herbosa, special adviser to the National Task Force Against COVID-19.
"Mukhang may tulong ang ating ginawang ECQ... Sana tuloy-tuloy na ang pagbaba at baka madalian ang desisyon ng IATF (inter-agency task force on COVID-19) na luwagan ang ating quarantine," he said in a televised public briefing.
(It seems that the ECQ we implemented is helping. I hope the cases will keep going down and it might make it easier for the IATF to loosen our quarantine.)
Government has to balance public health with potential job losses and hunger, Herbosa said.
"Kung opinyon ko lang ang masusunod... bababa ako sa MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) at paiigtingin ko ‘yong mga mayor, 'yung mga LGU, ‘yong localized lockdown, testing at saka tracing para hindi lahat napapahamak," he suggested.
(If my opinion is followed, I will go down to MECQ and direct mayors, local government units to ramp up localized lockdown, testing, and tracing so that not all areas will get in trouble.)
The IATF has yet to reach a consensus on the quarantine level, pending its assessment of data, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
With some 1.7 million coronavirus infections and 30,000 deaths, the Philippines is battling one of Asia's worst COVID-19 outbreaks, which the highly contagious Delta variant of the respiratory disease could worsen.
At least 12.7 million individuals are now fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. Government aims to immunize up to 70 million people before the year ends to safely reopen the economy.