DOH Supports ECQ Extension, 1 Week “Too Short,” Says Undersecretary
DOH SUPPORTS ECQ EXTENSION – Metro Manila and four surrounding provinces dubbed the “NCR Plus Bubble” is now under an enhanced community quarantine until April 4.
However, this may be extended after the DOH expressed support of a longer lockdown. Due to massive surge of COVID-19 cases, the government had no choice but to impose another ECQ.
But, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, a 1-week ECQ may be “too short”. During an interview with ANC, Vergeire said:
“One week really is short. We have recommended an extension but of course, we have to balance it off with the economy that’s why we need enough basis for us to have this extension“
Last year, the first ECQ was set to be only two weeks. But instead, it lasted throughout the year with a gradual easing of quarantine restrictions. Still, with the Philippines having access to vaccines, many are hopeful.
Meanwhile, Vergeire stressed that if numbers don’t change, COVID-19 cases could accumulate. Furthermore, she added that it takes on average 9 days for a person to get tested for COVID-19.
As per the interview, she explained:
“It takes about 3 days for people to decide if they would want to seek to consult for their symptoms. It takes another 2 days for them to get tested and the waiting for the results and then eventually being isolated. It takes 9 days in average. Theses 9 day causes a lot of transmissions already“
Additionally, she warned that NCR may see up to 430,000 active cases by the end of April if the government didn’t impose strict lockdowns within the NCR Plus Bubble.
Her forecast was based on the reproduction number or R naught of 1.46, the average number of people that a single positive person can spread the disease to. Along with this, the Philippines has also detected the presence of “mutations of concerns” that are more transmissible.
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