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Lopez sees restrictions easing in NCR by May

/ 04:59 AM April 24, 2021

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the National Capital Region (NCR) and nearby provinces can return to general community quarantine (GCQ) either on May 1 or May 15 if the government succeeds in strengthening the health-care system, having an efficient contact-tracing system and fewer new infections.

In a television interview on Friday, Lopez was asked how soon can Metro Manila and other provinces go back under GCQ, wherein more parts of the economy would be allowed to reopen. The trade chief said some considerations had to be taken before making that decision, although it could be as soon as May 1. “The soonest, of course, would be the start of May,” he said in an interview on the ABS-CBN News Channel.

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There’s hope if …

When he was asked if he really thought there was hope of a return to GCQ next month, Lopez replied in Filipino: “We believe [there is but it] has an if—if we are able to really ramp up [efforts to improve the health-care system] and at the same time really have an efficient contact tracing.”

“It would also depend on the COVID-19 cases. If we see that [number] going down also drastically in the next few days, [it’s] possible [to shift to GCQ],” he added.

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The Duterte administration placed Metro Manila and other provinces under enhanced community quarantine starting March 29 due to an alarming surge in new COVID-19 cases.

‘We’re balancing’

This quarantine classification lasted two weeks, then, despite the number of new cases daily still being high, the quarantine status was eased to a modified enhanced community quarantine covering Metro Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna and Rizal until April 30.

“But if we need more time for that, and assuming cases are still up, of course you just can’t have a GCQ on May 1. So that’s what we’re balancing. If we resolve that, it’s possible [to go on GCQ on] May 1. If not, [then on] May 15,” Lopez said. INQ

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