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Premature to lift quarantine in Pasig, says Vico Sotto

/ 11:57 AM April 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — It might be premature to lift the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Pasig City given the continued rise in the number of cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Mayor Vico Sotto said Wednesday.

“Here in Pasig, it might be a little bit premature to lift the enhanced community quarantine. Parang sayang (It might go to waste),” he said in an online press conference hosted by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP).

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“If we lift it now when there are still a high number of cases and an increasing number of cases every day, then why did we have to do it, why did we have that quarantine in the first place?” he added.

He said, however, that the matter on quarantine extension should be referred to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases of the national government since it sees the situation from a larger perspective.

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Sotto also noted that an extended quarantine, at least in the city, should be balanced with measures to allow the economy to thrive despite the hit it is taking, either at the national or local front, due to the pandemic.

He added that the Pasig City government is already planning to set-up a local economic stimulus package for the end of the Luzon-wide ECQ and even for the time after the quarantine “to make sure that the impact is as minimal as possible.”

The ECQ in the entire Luzon island started on March 17 and was supposed to end on midnight of April 13, but this has been extended to April 30 in a bid to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases.

The 30-year-old mayor, however, noted that the exact timeline on when the curve will be totally flattened remains a puzzle.

For Pasig, the number of cases is “fairly straight” and “not exponential.” Sotto said around 10 cases are being added daily to their tally.

“But the question is, it is because the curve is flattening or is it because we haven’t tested enough?” he said.

“So I think before we even talk about lifting the quarantine, we have to make sure that this mass testing is already up and running and that these initial results or stages of this mass testing have been already completed so that we can make an informed decision on whether we should lift, partially, completely, or not at all,” he explained.

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Currently, Pasig City can conduct around 350 tests daily, including both polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and rapid tests, for COVID-19. Sotto described this as a good and satisfying number for testing at the LGU level.

He also revealed that the city will be able to catch up with its backlog in testing COVID-19 “suspects” and “probable” cases either by Wednesday or Thursday.

President Rodrigo Duterte will decide on the fate of the Luzon-wide lockdown by April 23 or by the end of the week, his former long-time aide, Senator Bong Go, said Tuesday as he hinted of a possible modified quarantine.

As of Tuesday, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pasig City is marked at 266. Of this number, 48 have resulted in deaths, while 57 were recorded as recoveries. Another 118 are considered COVID-19 “suspects” and 46 are tagged as “probable” cases.

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TAGS: Coronavirus, coronavirus disease, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, enhanced community quarantine, Pasig City, Vico Sotto
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