GCQ in NCR Plus possible by May if COVID-19 bed capacity increases
MANILA, Philippines — The quarantine category in the NCR Plus area which includes Metro Manila and the adjacent provinces of Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna, may be downgraded to a general community quarantine (GCQ) starting May if it gets more beds for COVID-19 patients especially those who need critical care, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said Friday.
“The soonest, of course, would be May, starting May,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel after asked when NCR Plus could shift to GCQ.
However, Lopez noted the government has to solve the high occupancy rates in intensive care units (ICU) for severe cases of COVID-19 along with the “efficient” implementation of contact tracing before this shift could happen.
“We believe if we are able to really ramp up the ICU beds, yung healthcare system, commitment yun. At the same time, really have an efficient contact tracing,” Lopez said.
“But if we need more time for that, assuming cases are still up, of course hindi pwedeng basta ka lang mag-GCQ on May 1. Yan yung mga binabalanse natin. Pag na-solve natin yun, possible May 1, if not, May 15,” he added.
(But if we need more time for that, assuming cases are still up, of course, you cannot just shift to GCQ on May 1. Those are the things we’re balancing. Once we solve that, it’s possible to shift by May 1, if not, on May 15.)
Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna remain under a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until April 30. The areas were previously under a two-week enhanced community quarantine.
During this period, the National Economic Development Authority said people in the affected areas lost P83.3 billion in income.
Despite strict measures, the Philippines continues to record a high number of new COVID-19 cases daily with 8,767 new infections on Thursday alone.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.