No decision yet on Luzon quarantine duration
MANILA, Philippines —The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases is finalizing parameters in evaluating if the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) will be lifted, extended or expanded.
IATF spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said a technical working group led by the Department of Health would identify means to evaluate the quarantine’s effectiveness.
“The IATF technical working group to be led by the DOH (Department of Health) 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 on Tuesday.
“This is important and we will repeat: It’s not true that the ECQ will be extended for 60 days. It’s fake news. The DOH will study the need to extend this quarantine or not. In matters like these, science is in charge. Let this be clear to all of us,” Nograles said. Asked if the government is seeing the effects of the quarantine on the rate of COVID-19 infection, Nograles said it was still too early to tell.
“It’s the DOH who will be setting the parameters in order for us to determine if we did the right thing, and that includes flattening the curve. Right now, it’s too early to tell,” he said.
In a rare admonishment, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano criticized the coronavirus task force for its mixed and confusing messaging.
He noted how Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, responded differently to media queries on whether the ECQ would be extended.
“Today in one news report, Secretary Año said quarantine should not be extended, but in another report, Secretary Duque said we haven’t seen the peak, so the quarantine should continue, or he doesn’t see any reason to stop it,” Cayetano said
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