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DTI chief urges easing of quarantine as ‘self-discipline’ can slow down COVID-19

/ 04:43 AM September 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez on Monday said quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces should be eased as the spread of the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could be slowed if people had “self-discipline.”

Lopez told a news briefing that he believed Metro Manila and nearby provinces should be placed under modified general community quarantine so that more sectors of the economy could be reopened.

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The metropolis is under general community quarantine up to the end of September, and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the temporary government body overseeing the administration’s coronavirus response, has made no recommendation for its lifting or extension.

Only his view

“After six months with the virus … I believe we [have learned] how to move [with] and how to manage the virus,” Lopez said. “In my view, and it is only my view, we could already push for a lighter community quarantine because what is important here is that the whole country would have self-discipline and self-regulation so that the transmission [rate] would go down … That would allow us to open more sectors [of] the economy.”

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Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque has his own recommendation, though it is not a quarantine level.

Speaking at a news briefing in Cagayan de Oro City, Roque said he had suggested to the task force to place parts of the country with zero coronavirus infection in the past month under a new classification by October—”new normal.”

“We’re still data-driven and guided by science,” he said. “I myself suggested, and the [task force] agreed, that areas with zero transmission for the past month can be declared as under the new normal. In that sense, we will have a new classification. There will be new normal aside from modified general community quarantine.”

Lopez and Roque spoke hours before the Department of Health (DOH) reported 3,475 additional coronavirus infections, pushing the overall number of COVID-19 cases to 290,190.

Most cases in Metro

Metro Manila still had the most number of new infections, 1,543, followed by Batangas (194), Rizal (192), Cavite (166) and Cebu (165).

The DOH said 400 more patients had recovered, raising the total number of COVID-19 survivors to 230,233. But the death toll increased to 4,999 with the deaths of 15 more patients.

Eight of the newly reported fatalities died this month, six in August, and one in April.

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The deaths and recoveries left the country with 54,958 active cases, of which 86.6 percent are mild, 8.9 percent asymptomatic, 1.4 percent severe, and 3.1 percent critical. —REPORTS FROM ROY STEPHEN C. CANIVEL, JULIE M. AURELIO AND JOVIC YEE INQ

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
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, DTI, easing quarantine restrictions, Ramon Lopez
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