By Reina C Tolentino/Manila Times
The government is not considering relaxing the general community quarantine in Metro Manila, where cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) remain high, Malacanang has said.
“Local officials and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) agree that Metro Manila is not being considered for the modified general community quarantine,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr said in a virtual briefing.
“We are looking at data in making decisions at this point, the data does not indicate at least in Metro Manila that the quarantine should be eased,” he added.
He noted that quarantine classifications would be announced today.
Roque said the data he was referring to were the case doubling rate and critical care capacity.
Metro Manila mayors recommended that GCQ be maintained, Carlito Galvez Jr, National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer, said. He added that the quarantine in some areas would have to be tightened because of a spike in Covid-19 cases.
Galvez said two meetings were held with Metro Manila mayors and that they were one in their recommendation that the quarantine classification not be changed.
One of the reasons cited was the limited bed capacity of hospitals, some of which have stopped accepting Covid patients because they were full.
“Some officials want a stricter quarantine, but we can open other economic activities,” Galvez said.
Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said the critical bed capacity, especially for intensive care units (ICUs), was already at the “danger zone.”
“We have to make sure that if there is a rise in the number of severe and critical patients, hospitals can adjust in terms of providing critical care and expanding their intensive care units,” he added. “We are trying to prepare public hospitals, especially the government retained hospitals, they have to adjust the number of their ICU beds because we have to be ready for this because we’re in a crisis,” he added.
The government has designated czars to lead the testing, tracing, isolation and treatment of patients.
The four anti-Covid czars are Secretary Vivencio Dizon (chief testing czar), Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong (chief tracing czar), Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar (chief isolation czar) and Vega (chief treatment czar).
Roque said part of the government’s Covid strategy is expanding targeted testing, creation of more isolation centres, and massive tracing and treatment.