COVID-19 RESPONSE. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on July 30. Select Cabinet members tackled on Saturday (Aug. 1, 2020) the medical front-liners’ recommendation to implement enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila until Aug. 15 to curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Presidential photo by Robinson Niñal Jr.)

MANILA – Select Cabinet members held a meeting on Saturday night to tackle the recommendation of medical front-liners to implement enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila until August 15 to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Malacañang said on Saturday.

“Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea convened a meeting tonight, August 1, with key members of the Cabinet,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.

The meeting was held the same day when President Rodrigo Duterte directed members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to reconsider upgrading the community quarantine status in Metro Manila to ECQ, the most stringent quarantine classification imposed in the country.

Roque said he and his fellow secretaries, Wendel Avisado (Budget), Ramon Lopez (Trade), Francisco Duque (Health), Eduardo Año (Interior), and Delfin Lorenzana (Defense), attended the meeting.

Also present during the meeting were National Task Force (NTF) Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., NTF Covid-19 deputy chief implementer, and testing czar Vince Dizon and Health Undersecretary and treatment czar Leopoldo Vega, Roque said.

Roque said Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Michael Ong, Presidential Assistant for Foreign Affairs Robert Borje, and Senate health committee chairperson Christopher Lawrence Go were also included in the meeting.

Roque said the Cabinet members’ recommendation on Metro Manila’s fate will also be submitted to Duterte right after the meeting for the President’s review.

“This is to address the concerns of the medical community,” he said.

Duterte on Thursday placed Metro Manila under general community quarantine (GCQ) from August 1 to 15.

The new quarantine classification in Metro Manila came despite Malacañang’s previous statement that a stricter community quarantine might be implemented in the country’s metropolis due to unabated increase in Covid-19 cases.

In an August 1 letter supported by other health organizations, Philippine College of Physicians president Mario Panaligan relayed to the Duterte government the medical workers’ appeal to reimpose ECQ in Metro Manila, the epicenter of the pandemic in the country.

Panaligan said health professionals proposed the imposition of ECQ in Metro Manila until August 15 because they are already “tired” and they believed it is the proper time to “refine our pandemic control strategies.”

On Saturday, the Department of Health logged new record-high 4,963 new infections, jacking up the tally to 98,232.

A total of 93 new recoveries were likewise reported, raising the total to 65,265.

Deaths, on the other hand, rose to 2,039 with 17 additional fatalities, 13 of whom passed away in July and four in June. (PNA)