Luzon lockdown: To lift, extend or modify? ECQ-tired nation awaits Duterte decision
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to announce Thursday his decision whether to lift, extend, or modify the enhanced community quarantine imposed in Luzon against the coronavirus pandemic, exactly a week before it lapses on April 30, 2020.
“Wala pa pong desisyon ang Presidente kung ipagpapatuloy, ililift o ire-relax ang ating ECQ. Gayunpaman, inaasahan po natin ang kaniyang desisyon anumang oras ngayon,” Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said in an online press briefing.
(The President has yet to decide whether to continue, lift or relax the Luzon-wide ECQ. Nonetheless, we are expecting his decision anytime today.)
Roque also announced that Duterte would meet the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases at 6 p.m. He then assured that the President’s decision will be “backed by science”.
In mid-March, Duterte placed the entire Luzon, home to over 50 million people, under a month-long enhanced community quarantine to halt the spread of COVID-19. It was supposed to lapse on April 13 but Duterte approved the proposal to extend it for two more weeks or until April 30.
The order grounded all public transportation banned mass gatherings, and strictly enforced home quarantine as work for the majority of the region’s residents was suspended. People are only allowed to go out for the provision of food and other basic necessities and in cases of emergency.
In a meeting with Duterte in Malacañang earlier this week, medical experts recommended a modified community quarantine which will allow the easing of the lockdown in areas with few or no COVID-19 infections.
The World Health Organization likewise advised the gradual lifting of lockdowns.
To date, the Philippines has 6,710 cases of respiratory illness, including 693 recoveries and 446 deaths.
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