A team of University of the Philippines (UP) professors on Saturday warned the government that a premature lifting of ECQ in Metro Manila and other areas with high cases of COVID-19 might result in 24,000 new cases and 1,700 deaths by mid-June.
The team also recommended to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) the extension of enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila, a call that 10 of the 17 mayors in NCR supported.
Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez, chair of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) has forwarded the council’s three recommendations to the IATF after five hours of meeting on Saturday:
- ECQ but maximum of 15 more days
- GCQ for “until whenever necessary
- GCQ for NCR, but LGUs are allowed to lock down barangays as needed.
Las Piñas, Makati, Malabon, Quezon City, and Manila reportedly voted to proceed with the GCQ.
Navotas, Mandaluyong, Valenzuela, San Juan, Pasay, Pasig, Taguig, Caloocan, Pateros and Parañaque cities voted to extend the ECQ in Metro Manila.
The cities of Marikina and Muntinlupa abstained.
President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to release his decision on ECQ extension today, May 11, Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
“On Monday, we are expecting the President to approve the measures on what will happen by May 16,” Roque said in a televised press briefing.
Lifting of Metro Manila ECQ
Olivarez earlier said other local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila also wanted to extend the ECQ to prevent the “gamble into downgrading to general community quarantine,” once the ECQ ends.
“When ECQ will be lifted, everything is back to normal. There is still a big possibility that COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) may spread,” Olivarez said.
The mayor also believes “we still haven’t flattened the curve” even after two months of lockdown.
“What we’re really afraid of is a more severe second wave if we fail to isolate COVID-19 patients,” said Olivarez.
Epidemiologist John Wong, an adviser to the IATF, and even Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, however, stated the opposite.
As of May 10, 2020, the number of cases in NCR is already 6,993. It recorded 77 new cases, 15 new deaths (521 total), and 68 new recoveries (1,384 total).
The Philippines, meanwhile, recorded a total of 10,794 COVID-19, including 1,924 recoveries and 719 deaths.