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SPIKE IN VIRUS CASES

Metro Manila mayors want to keep general community quarantine

/ 04:50 AM July 14, 2020

Metro Manila mayors have recommended maintaining the current quarantine restrictions in the region to check the rise in new coronavirus infections that has come with the easing of lockdown measures to reopen the economy.

The metropolis is under general community quarantine, which ends on Wednesday. Residents expect the lifting of most restrictions on Thursday with a move into modified general community quarantine.

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But Carlito Galvez Jr., COVID-19 task force chief, told a news briefing on Monday that the mayors, in a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, had recommended a “hybrid.”

“We will maintain restrictions on social [life], but we will open up some economic activity provided the economic sector will be responsible for their workers,” Galvez said.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said President Duterte was expected to announce the decision on Wednesday.

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He said the government had been looking at COVID-19 data to see if the current restrictions could be eased.

“Perhaps at this point, the data does not indicate that we can ease restrictions in Metro Manila, just to manage expectations,” he said.

He later explained that he was referring to the case doubling rate and critical care capacity in the metropolis.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, however, said that while new infections continued to rise, the health-care system could still cope.

“This is reflected in our indicators. As of July 12, our case doubling time is … 8.18 days. This means that it takes more than a week for the number of cases to double and we have enough resources to address the current needs,” Vergeire told reporters.

But Roque said Metro Manila’s hospital occupancy jumped 70 percent on Saturday from 48 percent five days earlier due to a spike in cases.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Sunday that restrictions in Metro Manila could be relaxed if the local government could respond quickly to outbreaks, including imposing local lockdowns.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Monday said they supported the proposal for local lockdowns as these could work without sacrificing areas without infections and they would not cause too much damage to the economy. —WITH REPORTS FROM JOVIC YEE, MARLON RAMOS AND WIRES INQ

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For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, GCQ, Metro Manila mayors
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