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MECQ for Metro Manila? Duque Says Local Lockdowns Will Do for Now

GCQ is here to stay.
by Clara Rosales
Mar 17, 2021
Photo/s: Jerome Ascaño
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Local lockdowns are adequate for now to cap surging coronavirus infections in Metro Manila, Health Sec. Francisco Duque said Wednesday, when asked about the likelihood of stricter quarantines.

The granular lockdowns are "starting to yield positive outcomes," Duque told ANC's Headstart. The need for a "more widespread lockdown" will depend on the data, he said.

Metro Manila has been under the second lowest quaratine, GCQ, since September. It was last placed under MECQ, the second highest and one notch above GCQ, in August 2020 as infections surged to the point that health frontliners sought a timeout.

"As of now, I don't because the localized lockdowns are starting to yield positive outcomes," Duque told ANC's Headstart when asked if he recommends a shift to MECQ.

The Department of Health reported 25,732 active COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila on Tuesday. The capital region accounted for 2,842, more than half of the reported 4,437 new infections for that day.

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For the past weeks, the Philippines has been seeing new cases that mirror the numbers from August 2020, where the daily tally recorded about 4,000 to 5,000 cases per day. A research group said 8,000 daily cases was possible if the trend persists.

On Monday, Metro Manila mayors implemented a uniform curfew and banned minors from leaving their homes to curb COVID-19 transmissions. Lockdowns for areas with a high number of cases are also in place.

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According to Duque, the effect of granular lockdowns will be seen in about two weeks. "If nothing changes and the cases continue to rise, then the possibility of a more widespread lockdown is certainly strong," he said.

"Everything is possible, but we have to calibrate our response depending on the data that come in with the recommendation of our technical advisory group and our epidemiologist of the IATF…If they say that we need to have a more widespread lockdown, then we will recommend to the President," he said.

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