NCR Plus (Metro Manila and 4 neighboring provinces) have been placed under a more relaxed modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until the end of April despite the continued increase in COVID-19 cases.
The MECQ will run from April 12 to 30 in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said this Sunday.
Also subject to the MECQ, the second-highest of the 4 government lockdown levels, are Santiago City in Isabela and the provinces of Quirino and Abra.
On Monday, the difference between enhanced community quarantine and MECQ will be explained.
Prior to the announcement, the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians said it was not yet time to ease the quarantine restrictions.
It is said that the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, where the health care workers themselves are getting sick.
NCR Plus shifts to MECQ
“Obvious sa mga numero na nasa kasagsagan pa rin tayo ng surge. Hindi pa bumababa ang mga numero. Gaya sa mga ospital natin, dahil sa dami ng kaso, kulang pa rin ang mga ospital. Mga pasyente natin, nahihirapan pa rin makakita ng ospital na tatanggap sa kanila,” said Philippine Academy of Family Physicians President Dr. Aileen Espina.
“This is beyond the capacity of the healthcare system to respond to the current situation,” said Espina.
ABS-CBN Data Analytics head Edson Guido agreed.
He said COVID-19 cases should be reduced first and hospitals should be decongested.
“Base sa health aspect, kailangan talaga ng extension kasi lagpas 10,000 pa rin ang mga kaso. Positivity rate, above 20 percent pa rin. So, isa sa bawat 5 nate-test [ang] nagpopositibo. Mataas pa rin ‘yon,” said Guido.
“Hospitals natin (are) reporting full capacity up to now. So parang di pa practical na at this point, magluwag tayo, given all these conditions,” he said.
There must also be a long-term solution for the country to move forward with the COVID-19 problem because the lockdown is only a short-term intervention, according to health care workers.