NCR under GCQ without mass testing may lead to new wave of infections – Duque
MANILA, Philippines — It would be the “worst-case scenario” if Metro Manila would experience a new wave of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections should the region shift to general community quarantine (GCQ) without mass testing, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Tuesday.
“The worst-case scenario here would be that we will have another case of outbreaks and there would be a second wave — actually a third wave,” Duque said during the hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole.
Duque raised this possibility during questioning by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian on what would be the “worst-case scenario” if Metro Manila — considered as the national epicenter for the COVID-19 outbreak— would shift to relaxed quarantine measures.
Metro Manila, or the National Capital Region, is under modified enhanced community quarantine, which would last until the end of May.
Duque suggested that provinces, cities, and towns be monitored through what he called a “risk severity rating.”
Under that rating system, provinces would have a severe risk rating at 25 COVID-19 cases highly-urbanized cities is 15 cases, and chartered cities or towns at 10 cases.
Localized lockdowns if 2nd wave occurs
But should the second wave of infections occur not just in Metro Manila but also in other parts of the country, Duque said that localized lockdowns, instead of large-scale lockdowns, would be enforced.
“We have a strategy of localized lockdown measures. This is not the large scale lockdowns, but our quarantine measures will be more focused instead,” Duque told Sen. Lito Lapid, who had asked him what the government would do in case of another wave of infections.
“For example, in one barangay, if two households would test positive, then that’s where the lockdown will happen,” he added.
COVID-19 National Task Force chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said that they had already made a “sonic concept” with this measure.
Under this system of localized lockdowns, Galvez added that areas would then be classified as “critical area,” “containment area,” “buffer zone,” or “outside buffer zone.”
As of this writing, the Philippines has 12,942 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 2,843 recoveries and 837 deaths.
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