Malacañang said Wednesday that Metro Manila may be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) again if the number of COVID-19 in the Philippines would reach 85,000 by July 31, as projected by the University of the Philippines (UP) experts.
“That’s a distinct possibility, although it’s a possibility that I wish would not happen,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque told CNN Philippines in an interview.
“If we have to and there’s no alternative, we need to do it,” he added, citing the economy could not take another lockdown.
“So ang sinasabi nga natin, dapat ingatan ang ating mga katawan para tayo po ay magkaroon ng hanapbuhay,” he added.
(What we are saying is we need to take care of our bodies so we could work.)
“I’m confident that the Filipinos actually will cooperate to [an] even greater degree than they have shown. Yesterday, I announced that we’re second in the world as far as wearing face masks is concerned, and that shows that the Filipinos will cooperate when they have to,” he added.
The Metro Manila was under MECQ from May 16 to 31 and is now under a more relaxed general community quarantine.
The Department of Health data showed Metro Manila had logged 24,244 active cases and 967 deaths as of July 21.
As of July 22, the Philippines has recorded 70,764 COVID-19 cases, with 23,281 recoveries and 1,837 fatalities.
According to the UP projection, the number of infections could reach up to 85,000 and includes projected 2,200 deaths by end-July. The figures were based on the assumption that the virus’s current reproduction rate and government interventions would not change.
The UP professors and researchers presented President Rodrigo Duterte, a report showing COVID-19’s reproduction rate of 1.75 from 1.28 in June’s projection.
The report added that the reproduction rate should be less than one. Meanwhile, a value higher than one indicates the virus is spreading.
“This surge, if left unabated, poses a real danger of the virus leading not just to exponential growth in the number of cases and deaths but also to overwhelm the health care system in the NCR,” they said.