IATF setting parameters for possible lifting, extension or expansion of Luzon quarantine
MANILA, Philippines — The inter-agency task force handling the government’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis is setting its sights on the possible lifting, extension or expansion of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) more than two weeks after it was imposed.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, spokesman of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, said in a virtual press briefing Tuesday that the IATF will convene to set the parameters for the 30-day lockdown’s potential lifting, extension or expansion.
“The IATF Technical Working Group (TWG) to be led by the DOH is directed to convene and finalize the parameters for deciding on the eventual total or partial lifting of the ECQ in Luzon, the possible extension of its duration, or its expansion to other areas outside the contained area, subject to the approval, amendment or modification by the IATF,” Nograles said.
The Palace official also reiterated that reports circulating on social media about the extension of the ECQ for another 60 days are “fake news.”
“Sa usapin na ito, science is in charge. Sana po malinaw ito sa ating lahat,” he stressed.
President Duterte placed the entire Luzon under a month-long ECQ on March 16, forcing more than 50 million Filipinos to observe home quarantine.
The ECQ is the government’s response to health experts’ estimate that COVID-19 infection may reach 75,000 in the Philippines in three months if the virus is not contained.
To date, the Philippines has 1,546 COVID-19 cases as of Monday, 78 of whom have died while 42 have recovered.
The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
Worldwide, the virus, which was first detected in Hubei province in China, already infected more than 784,000 people and killed over 37,600 while more than 165,200 people have recovered so far from the disease as of March 30.
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