'For a very nice Christmas', gov't urged to place Metro Manila under GCQ until end-October


Posted at Sep 27 2020 09:22 AM | Updated as of Sep 27 2020 10:30 AM

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MANILA - A public health expert on Sunday urged government to keep Metro Manila under general community quarantine (GCQ) until Oct. 31 to better prepare the country for the holiday celebrations in December.

The virus reproduction rate, or the number of people infected by each person carrying the virus, is currently at .82 nationwide and .73 in Metro Manila, according to Dr. Tony Leachon, former adviser of the government's pandemic task force.

The figures are below the ideal "1," which could mean the virus will eventually peter out. 

The country's positivity rate or the number of those who test positive for the virus was still "high," as the Philippines reports some 3,000 new cases daily, Leachon said.

"Ang problema dito, padami kasi ang sasakyan at saka tao na mamamasyal during the holiday season. Mas maganda, i-control mo pa para 'pag nagsaya ang tao during the holiday season, meron kang sandbag na tinatawag, at medyo naibaba mo," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(The problem here is, there will be more vehicles and people going out during the holiday season. It's better to control this now so when the holidays come, we have what we call a sandbag and we somehow decreased the cases.)

"Kasi kung luluwag ka ngayon, lahat okay ka na, permissive socioeconomic activities, tapos alam naman natin ang cultural quotient ng mga Pilipino, 'pag may event lang, naglalabasan na, baka magka-surge ito na aabot ng Christmas season."

(Because if you ease measures now and there are socioeconomic activities, and we know Filipinos go outside during events, we may have a surge that will last until Christmas season.)

Researchers from the University of the Philippines have submitted their recommendation for another month-long GCQ in the virus epicenter to the government's inter-agency task force against COVID-19, with Metro Manila mayors, Leachon said, seeming to agree with the proposal.

The mayors will meet Sunday noon to discuss the matter, he added.

“Ang gusto nila (Metro Manila mayors), 1 month muna - Oct. 1 hanggang Oct. (31) - at ako rin, personally… at si Dr. Benjie Co, at saka UP OCTA Research Group, na GCQ muna tayo ng 1 month, to pave the way for a very nice Christmas,” he said.

(They want Metro Manila to be placed under GCQ from Oct. 1 to [31]. Personally, I also want that, and so does Dr. Benji Co and UP OCTA researchers, to pave the way for a very nice Christmas.)

The Philippines as of Saturday reported 301,256 cases of COVID-19, with 232,906 recoveries and 5,284 deaths.

Various countries are still conducting trials of some medicines and vaccines for COVID-19, which first emerged in China late last year.