Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Friday he is confident that the number of COVID-19 cases would decrease during the implementation of the MECQ or modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
Año said at an event in Camp Crame that for him, the MECQ in Metro Manila, Rizal, Laguna, Cavite, and Bulacan should not be extended for the sake of Philippine economy.
“Huwag naman sana [ma-extend] kasi gusto talaga natin ay makapagbukas pa rin tayo ng ekonomiya, balance between health and economy. Titingnan natin ‘yung figures,” Año said.
(I hope it would not be extended because we really need to open our economy, a balance between health and economy. Let us check the figures.)
“Pero ako, I’m optimistic na with the 15 days MECQ, bababa ‘yan. Ang kailangan lang ay sumunod, huwag na tayo maging pasaway,” he added.
(But I’m optimistic the cases would decrease with the 15 days MECQ. We just need to obey protocols. I hope we would not be violators.)
The MECQ in Metro Manila and the other areas will be from August 4 to 18.
Also read: Año urges PNP to improve image, reputation
Experts from the University of the Philippines said earlier the reimposed modified MECQ in Metro Manila could reduce the number of COVID-19 cases by at least 50,000 by the end of August.
According to Professor Ranjit Rye of the UP OCTA research team, the Philippines could have 220,000 COVID-19 cases by the end of the month if the capital remained under general community quarantine (GCQ).
There could be 50,000 to 70,000 fewer cases after reverting to MECQ, Rye said at a Malacañang press briefing.
“Ngayon naka-MECQ, we will save more than 50,000 new cases,” Rye said.
The UP professor said the MECQ will have a crucial impact on the coronavirus transmission rate. At present, Rye said the reproduction number — or the number of people an infected person could pass the virus to — is almost 1.5 but could decrease to 1 in 15 days.
“Malaking bagay na ho, kayang kaya, malaking bagay na ho na nagdesisyon ang gobyerno, kahit na napakalaki ng cost nito, na mag-MECQ,” he said.
(The government’s decision, no matter how high the cost is to go back to MECQ, is a big thing.)