Too early to tell if ECQ is effective: Malacañang

It is too early to say that the number of those who test positive for COVID-19 is decreasing due to the enhanced community (ECQ) imposed in Metro Manila and 4 neighboring , Malacañang said.

This is after the OCTA Research Group said that the reproduction number of the disease in Metro Manila has dropped to 1.53 from 1.88.

“Titingnan po natin dito sa mga susunod na araw ‘no. Mas magandang basehan po iyan kapag makakuha na tayo ng average,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Roque had earlier said that he no longer sees the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest of the 4 lockdown levels, being extended to “NCR (National Capital Region) Plus” by Monday.

NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal will remain in the ECQ until April 11.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez admitted that it will be difficult for the ECQ to survive. However, the case of COVID-19 and health care utilization rate will still be a big consideration in the government.

If some data improves, it is possible that some sectors will open next week.

But expect an apparent ECQ when it comes to non-essential activities such as mass gatherings or meeting friends or relatives from different homes.

Too early to tell if ECQ is effective: Malacañang

There is still no talk of continuing the failed opening of cinemas, arcades, internet cafes, and spas as well as poorly ventilated gyms and restaurants.

“Simply put, open also some other sectors na sarado ngayon. At least i-open siya kahit 50 percent and pipiliin ‘yong sector na low risk,” said Lopez.

Meanwhile, the government responded to comments that the country’s testing capacity, which is at 52,000 tests per day, did not keep pace with the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases.

According to testing czar Vince Dizon, experts do not recommend having mass testing.

“Kailangan ang testing natin ay risk-based at very targeted. Ang pinaka-importante pa rin, na unanimous lahat ng eksperto, ay ang pagpapatupad ng minimum health standards,” said Dizon.

Dizon clarified that the expansion of RT-PCR labs will continue.

The government has also added antigen tests in response to the increase in cases.