OCTA urges PH gov’t not to lift MECQ in NCR+ just yet

Robie de Guzman   •   April 23, 2021   •   405

MANILA, Philippines – COVID-19 restrictions being enforced in the National Capital Region (NCR) and nearby provinces should not be eased yet despite the declining spread of the viral respiratory disease, the OCTA Research Group said Friday.

OCTA Research Fellow Nicanor Austriaco said the NCR’s current reproduction number is at 0.98 from April 16 to 22.

He stressed that the less than one reproduction number should be sustained for several weeks before lifting the community quarantine restrictions.

“You have to sustain the R below one for at least several weeks, and this will take a careful planning with the length of the MECQ,” Austriaco said in an online briefing.

“We urge the national government, as one possible benchmark for changing quarantine levels, is not to exit the MECQ until at least the R is less than .9 in a sustained manner,” he added.

OCTA noted that the average daily cases in the NCR in the past seven days are now at 4,200 compared to 5,200 cases recorded two weeks ago.

However, Austriaco said this is still “somewhat unstable” because not all local government units in the NCR have reported decreasing cases.

“You always have the possibilities that as some LGUs recover, there will be an outbreak in one LGU that will spill over to the adjacent LGUs,” he said.

“We are looking for a consistent pattern of decrease throughout all the 17 LGUs for a significant period of time before we know we have successfully passed through the surge,” he added.

Austriaco also emphasized that hospitals also need to be decongested before restrictions can be further eased.

“How fast we decongest our hospitals depends upon he sustained reproduction number that we are able to maintain in the next few weeks,” he said.

The NCR and four provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna have been placed under modified enhanced community quarantine until April 30.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said that the government is not yet satisfied with the current decline in cases.

It also remains unclear on whether the MECQ in the NCR Plus will be lifted or extended after April 30 as the Inter-Agency Task Force is still evaluating the current COVID-19 situation in the country before it submits a recommendation to President Rodrigo Duterte. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

IATF places Cagayan, Apayao, Benguet back to MECQ due to high COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Northern provinces Cagayan, Apayao, and Benguet have reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) after recording high cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The MECQ status will take effect on May 11 until May 23.

As of May 10, Cagayan has 4,657 cases followed by Benguet with 531 and Apayao with 63.

Business operations in the said areas will be limited according to the directive of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

A liquor ban will be implemented while religious gatherings will only be allowed at 10% capacity.  Entertainment and recreational events also be suspended.

Benguet governor Melchor Diclas reported that majority of the COVID-19 cases in their area are severe. Hospitals in Benguet are also in short supply of respirators.

“Dumadami talaga ang mga pasyente natin. Marami ang namamatay at marami ang nagkakasakit ng critical at serious. Ang respirator natin may nagagamit tayong 13 na respirator. Ang bakante nalang ay dalawa,” he said.

(Our patients are increasing. Many have died and many are in critical or serious condition. We have 13 respirators but there are only two available units left.)

Hospitals in Apayao, meanwhile, are at 80% critical level.  In Cagayan Province, Governor Manuel Mamba said Tuguegarao City’s home quarantine setup is still contributing to the rising cases of COVID-19.

“Hindi magiging epektibo ang MECQ sa Tuguegarao City hangga’t may home quarantine,” he said.

(MECQ in Tuguegarao City will not be effective as long as home quarantine is being implemented .)

Mamba continues to reiterate the need to build isolation facilities in Tuguegarao to accommodate COVID-19 patients. AAC (With reports from Marvin Calas)

 

 

IATF places Cagayan, Apayao, Benguet under MECQ until May 23

Robie de Guzman   •   May 10, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has placed Cagayan, Apayao, and Benguet under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) amid the continuing threat of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Malacañang said on Monday.

Under IATF Resolution No. 114-C issued on May 9, the three provinces will be under MECQ from May 10 to 23.

“Upon the recommendation of the Screening and Validation Committee, Cagayan, Apayao, and Benguet shall be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine from May 10, 2021 to May 23, 2021. The risk-level classifications of the aforementioned provinces shall be without prejudice to their reclassification as may be warranted and the declaration of localized enhanced community quarantine in critical areas,” the resolution read.

Under MECQ status, non-essential travels are prohibited and non-essential services and establishments are partially shuttered.

Other areas under MECQ until May 14 include the National Capital Region, Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, Zamboanga City, Santiago City, Isabela, Quirino and Ifugao.

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Duterte may announce new quarantine status this week – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   May 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to announce this week the new community quarantine classifications to be implemented on May 15, Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement when asked if the president will announce the new quarantine status when he holds his weekly public address on Monday night.

“Siguradong ia-announce niya ang bagong quarantine classifications bago mag-May 15 dahil May 14 nga yung last day,” he said during an online briefing.

The National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna – collectively tagged as NCR Plus – are under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until May 14.

Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has yet to submit to the president its recommendation on the new quarantine status.

“Tingin ko po hindi pa pupuwede kasi wala pa po yung rekomendasyon ng IATF sa kanya. Hindi pa po nagpupulong ang IATF para po sa final recommendation on quarantine classifications,” he said.

He said that based on the current data on the healthcare utilization rate and the COVID-19 situation, there is a possibility that the community quarantine status will be eased in the NCR Plus.

Roque, however, said that the decision rests with the IATF on whether or not to shift the NCR Plus to less restrictive community quarantine level.

“I will not second guess po the IATF, but pursuant to the formula, it is possible. Again, the final decision rest with the IATF,” he said.

Zamboanga City was also placed under MECQ until May 14 while Tacloban City was shifted to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) until May 31.

Other areas placed under MECQ until May 31 are Santiago City, Quirino, and Abra.

The areas of Baguio City, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Quezon, Iligan City, Davao City, and Lanao del Sur are under GCQ until May 31.

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