Wed. Jan 19th, 2022

MANILA – The government will give Metro Manila and other “high-risk” areas, which are currently placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), enough time to transition to general community quarantine (GCQ), Malacañang said on Thursday.

In a virtual presser, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) will be announcing more GCQ areas days before the ECQ ends on May 15.

“The ECQ will end on May 15, so I suppose it will be a few days before May 15 dahil kinakailangang mag-transition din tayo to GCQ para doon sa mga areas na pupuwede nang mag-GCQ (because there will be a need to transition to GCQ for areas that can be declared GCQ),” Roque said.

Roque, however, clarified that it remains to be seen if there is a chance that the entire Metro Manila could be placed under GCQ.

“Hindi lang po ako sigurado kung ito ay magiging para sa buong Metro Manila dahil sa iba’t-ibang mga siyudad po ay patuloy pa rin po iyong pagdoble ng sakit every two to three days (I cannot be sure if a GCQ can be implemented in the entire Metro Manila because the infection rate in different cities continues to double every two to three days),” he said.

GCQ is being implemented in all low-risk and moderate-risk areas nationwide.

He pointed out that the decision to place other areas under GCQ will depend on the rate of infection, health and testing capacity, and economic factors.

Roque earlier said the Philippines is close to hitting 20,000 tests for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) tests per day with the opening of new laboratories including the Philippine Red Cross’ own testing center.

Once the government reaches its goal of running 30,000 Covid-19 tests per day by May 30, Roque said the IATF-EID will have a better “gauge” of the real number of confirmed cases in the country.

“I think it’s a good basis because, number one, lalo nga pong nag-i-increase iyong ating testing capacity (our testing capacity has increased). So, as we come closer to May 15, we would have a better picture,’ Roque said.

On Tuesday, the first mega-swabbing facility in the country at the Palacio de Maynila on Roxas Boulevard was inaugurated.

It is the first among the four mega-swabbing facilities that the administration seeks to operationalize to ramp up the country’s Test, Trace, and Treat program.

The three other swabbing centers are located at the Philippine Arena, Mall of Asia Arena, and Enderun tent.

These swab facilities can conduct 5,000 tests per day.

Health authorities on Thursday announced 343 new infections, increasing the country’s confirmed cases of Covid-19 to 10,343 with 685 deaths and 1,618 recoveries. (ia/PNA)

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