Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said general community quarantine (GCQ) remained over Metro Manila and other areas to prevent a COVID-19 surge during the Christmas holiday season.
“There would be more people going out, therefore increasing contact rate, also the transmission rate. There could be a potential surge of cases,” Duque said in an interview on CNN Philippines on Tuesday.
“The IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases) thought it best to maintain it para naman nang sa ganun, if we celebrate the Christmas holidays and the New Year, there should still be a measure of caution,” he added.
Duque said the public should be aware that COVID-19 cases could spike during the holidays.
“To keep it at GCQ, we will, hopefully, forestall or prevent that surge from happening,” he said.
In a public address aired on Monday night, President Rodrigo Duterte announced the following areas would be under GCQ until December 31:
- National Capital Region
- Iloilo City
- Tacloban City
- Lanao del Sur
- Davao City
Meanwhile, the rest of the country is still under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
GCQ remained to prevent COVID-19 surge during Christmas – Duque
The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines could hit 500,000 by the end of 2021, according to the OCTA Research team.
The experts said the total number of cases could reach between 470,000 and 500,000 (with a mean of 485,000 cases) by December 31. The Department of Health reported 429,864 cases, including 8,373 deaths as of Sunday, November 29.
The virus’ reproduction number increased to 0.88. However, the researchers said the number is still below the critical level of 1 for November 22 to 28. A value higher than one shows the virus is spreading.
The OCTA Research said National Capital Region (NCR), Davao del Sur, Quezon, Negros Occidental, Pampanga, Bulacan, Misamis Oriental, and Western Samar are areas under concern. Meanwhile, the cities of Makati, Lucena, Batangas, Davao, and Pagadian were considered high-risk areas.
The team also urged the public to avoid crowded and enclosed areas this Christmas season. People should also avoid joining or organizing social gatherings.
The experts asked the government to enforce the 10-person limit for gatherings in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and discourage office parties and other social events.