2-week Luzon quarantine extension pushed; PH not ready reopen, says lawmaker | Inquirer News
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2-week Luzon quarantine extension pushed; PH not ready reopen, says lawmaker

/ 01:15 PM April 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is proposing  a two-week extension of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to grip the nation.

Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda urged the National Task Force (NTF) to recommend the extension of the quarantine period, saying scientific evidence suggest that the Philippines is not yet at “a point of justified confidence” in fighting the pandemic.

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Salceda

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda. FILE PHOTO

The ECQ in Luzon was extended until April 30, 2020.

“We’re simply not there yet, no matter how much we wish this pandemic to end. It would be almost willful neglect to say that the country can now reopen,” Salceda said in a statement.

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Salceda pointed out that  the projected 130,000 tests conducted by April 30 only covers 0.1 percent of the population which means that “we are most possibly missing many positive especially asymptomatic cases that are undetected and at large.”

“Doubling time for infections hovers at just above 12 days. Thus, lifting the ECQ amounts to carelessly exposing the entire population to infection, no matter what residual social distancing,” Salceda said.

“When we allow a big swathe of social contacts exposed to an epidemic with doubling time of 12 days, we would simply overwhelm their nascent capacities, opening the margin for mistakes even if clerical with manifold adverse consequences,” he added.

Salceda proposed the following conditions for the lifting of the quarantine measure:

  • Comprehensive measures to protect at-risk and vulnerable population
  • The pervasiveness of low-cost non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as personal hygiene, handwashing, facemasks, and social distancing
  • Full protection for frontliners, including complete personal protective equipment and readiness for peak capacity (15,000 COVID-19 beds, and 4,500 mechanical ventilators; 7 days’ worth of PPE in reserve)
  • Adequate testing. No mass testing, no lifting. (At least 0.22% of the population tested)

“Greater care is required in planning and implementing a pathway or pathways towards recovery. This is why our efforts should strengthen over time, and modifications should not amount to an easing of our efforts in the aggregate, but rather a recalibration towards more efficiency and effectiveness, based on science and fact,” Salceda said.

As of April 19, there are 6,259 CVID-19 cases in the country, with the death toll of 409.

GSG

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