There is no need to revert to a stricter community quarantine classification in Metro Manila despite surge in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19 cases), Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said a stricter quarantine status is not yet necessary since the country’s current healthcare capacity is able to handle the rise in Covid-19 cases.
“For the month of March, I don’t think it is called for. Why? Because data is our basis,” he said partly in Filipino in a Palace press briefing.
Citing data from the health department, Roque said 60 percent of 1,900 intensive care unit (ICU) beds are still available while 65 percent of 13,500 isolation beds remain unoccupied and 75 percent of 6,000 ward beds are also still vacant.
But Roque emphasized the need for local government units (LGUs) to step up on their efforts to test, trace, and treat.
“We direct the local governments not just to enhance the implementation of minimum health standards, but also implement institutional isolation of those infected. We need to enhance tracing and isolation of those with close contact and give PCR tests to those who have had close contract,” he said in Filipino.
He said LGUs also have the power to impose localized or granular lockdowns in areas with a surge in Covid-19 cases.
“Implement a lockdown in the street, house, compound with high cases because that’s really the strategy now,” he added in Filipino.
Roque said the Philippine economy could not afford to revert to a stricter community status as many were going hunger and between jobs.
Former Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit, for his part, attributed the surge in Covid-19 cases to a drop in compliance with minimum health and safety standards.
“That’s what we need to balance because we want to open the economy,” he said.
Roque appealed to the public not to get tired observing minimum health standards such as wearing of face masks and face shields, frequent hand-washing, and physical distancing. SOVEREIGNPH