MECQ extension? Health-economy balance is key — Palace
MANILA, Philippines — A “delicate” balance between health and economy is needed in deciding whether or not the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) enforced in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces will be extended, Malacañang said Monday.
Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Laguna and Cavite are under MECQ until August 18 after medical frontliners sought for a “timeout” amid a spike in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19 cases).
“On the suggestion to make the MECQ effective for one month, this is a decision that has to be made by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID),” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
“It entails a delicate balancing of protecting and saving people’s health to protecting and saving the economic health of the nation,” he added.
Former adviser of the National Task Force on COVID-19 Dr. Tony Leachon had reportedly suggested extending the MECQ for a month to build up the country’s healthcare capacity.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, however, said Metro Manila is ready to return to the less stringent general community quarantine after August 18.
“We understand that the effects of the recent implementation of modified enhanced quarantine measures in the National Capital Region and nearby areas would be felt two to three weeks after its enforcement,” Roque said.
“The incubation period for COVID-19, according to health experts, is fourteen days so we just have to wait for that time to ascertain the health impact of the MECQ classification,” he went on.
The Philippines now has the most number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia with 129,913 infections, 2,270 deaths and 67,673 recoveries.
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