Sat. May 8th, 2021
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles (File photo)

MANILA – About 25 villages in Quezon City need to be placed under “special concern lockdown” due to the unabated spike in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Friday.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel, he said he asked the Quezon City government during a meeting on Thursday to impose a special concern lockdown in the 25 villages that are considered as Covid-19 “hotspots”.

Nograles, also acting as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), said his suggestion would help reduce the local transmission of Covid-19 in Quezon City.

“The 25 barangays, based on nakita namin na pwedeng tawaging hotspots kasi tumataas ‘yung bilang ng Covid-19 cases for the last seven days (The 25 villages could be considered as hotspots due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the past seven days),” said Nograles, who was assigned to monitor the Quezon City government’s Covid-19 response.

The city government has already imposed a special concern lockdown in the city’s densely populated areas.

He noted that so far, only the villages of Batasan Hills, Culiat, Fairview, Tatalon, Sauyo, Bahay Toro, Kamuning, Roxas, Bagbag, Baesa, and Kaligayahan have been placed under special concern lockdowns.

In the roster Nograles submitted to the Quezon City government, he proposed the implementation of the same lockdown in 25 other villages, among them Tandang Sora, Commonwealth, Holy Spirit, Novaliches Proper, Pasong Tamo, Crame, Payatas, Soccoro, Matandang Balara, Pinyahan, and San Roque.

The IATF-EID on Wednesday approved Resolution 62, which mandates its members to give “stronger support” to local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal that are under modified enhanced community quarantine.

Nograles said the IATF-EID members would only act as the LGUs’ “bridge” to the national government.

“It is still local government-led ang effort. But ‘yung national government, parang siya po ‘yung enabler, siya po ‘yung magbibigay ng support sa LGU (The effort is still local government-led. The national government will just serve as the enabler. It will provide the LGUs with support),” he said.

Six-step approach vs. Covid-19

In the case of Quezon City, Nograles said there was an agreement to ensure the strict implementation of the “six-step approach” to combat Covid-19.

Nograles said he and fellow Cabinet member, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, would help the Quezon City government implement the six-step approach to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the area.

Controlling the transmission of Covid-19; augmenting health care capacities; managing outbreaks in health facilities and urban communities; imposing preventive measures in workplaces, schools, and public transportation; managing importation risks, and engaging communities are the steps to be done by the Quezon City government.

“QC has already been doing (this six-step approach). We just need more coordination with the national government agencies to help QC in managing all of these six approaches,” Nograles said.

QC residents as ‘candidates’ for vaccine

Meanwhile, Nograles also floated the possibility of Quezon City residents qualifying as “candidates” for the clinical trial of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.

He broached the idea as he noted the local transmission of Covid-19 in Quezon City.

“With that, I think some of the residents of QC might qualify for that. But again, (it’s) on a voluntary basis,” Nograles said. “I think, necessarily, may mga (there would be) Quezon City residents who would be asked to join the clinical trials.”

Malacañang announced on Thursday that the Philippines would begin Phase 3 of the Russia-funded clinical trials of the Covid-19 vaccine from October 2020 to March 2021.

Phase 3 of the clinical trials will be done in the Philippines, simultaneously with Russia, after a vaccine expert panel reviews the results of the clinical trials for Phases 1 and 2 in September.

The drug may be registered with the Food and Drug Administration in April next year, the Palace said. (PNA)

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