Robredo, Belmonte agree: Too early to talk about ECQ extension | Inquirer News

Robredo, Belmonte agree: Too early to talk about ECQ extension

/ 02:51 PM August 12, 2021

Robredo, Belmonte agree: Too early to talk about ECQ extension

FILE PHOTO: Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte (left) and Vice President Leni Robredo. INQUIRER

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo and Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte both agreed that it is still too early for now to talk about extending the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status over Metro Manila, stressing that any decision on it should be based on COVID-19 data.

But Robredo on Thursday noted it would be hard to make the next decision if data being used are inaccurate, even expressing concern about the country’s COVID-19 positivity rate remaining high and that the government may not be testing enough people for the coronavirus.


Robredo and Belmonte were present during the rollout of the Vaccine Express initiative of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) in Quezon City. The OVP’s Vaccine Express caters to members of the transport sector, who are under A4 of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination priority list.


“Tingin ko too early para sabihin. Kasi halimbawa kahapon, 12,000 plus iyong new cases. Ang positivity rate ang taas-taas — 21 percent. Iyong sa akin, sa positivity rate pa lang nagpapakita na na we are not testing enough,” Robredo told reporters on the sidelines of the Vaccine Express program.

“Sa akin, tingnan doon saan ba tayo hindi nagte-test enough kasi iyong datos naman kung saan dapat mag-test, kung saan nakikita iyong karamihan sa transmission […] sinabi ko na ito ilang beses na iyong testing, iyon iyong Step One. Kapag napakataas ng positivity rate, kailangan iyong aim natin mapababa siya to less than five percent,” she added.

Belmonte said that if her opinion is sought, the first suggestion that she would make is to defer any ECQ extension given that it has only been one week since Metro Manila went into strict lockdown.

The local chief executive stressed that the current ECQ status differs from other declarations because the lockdowns took effect before cases actually started rising, unlike before when lockdowns were deemed necessary because COVID-19 infections were already high.

“Pero kung kami ay hihingian ng rekomendasyon dito sa Quezon City, ang akin pong sigurong ire-rekomenda number one, hindi muna ngayon,” Belmonte said.

“Let’s wait for the latter part of the ECQ kasi maaga tayong nag-lockdown ngayon kumpara doon sa unang ECQ this year na kung saan ang taas-taas na ng bilang at saka pa lang tayo nag-lockdown. Ngayon, pataas pa lang nag-lockdown na tayo. So I hope that that comes for something, ano,” she explained.


Also, Belmonte said that even with the threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant — deemed to be 60 percent more infectious than the Alpha variant — the city was not registering extremely high numbers as the local government was able to prepare, unlike in the March 2021 surge.

“Pangalawa, nagbabakuna tayo ngayon. So isa sa mga magagandang trends na nakita natin dito ay ang kaunti na ng namamatay, very few deaths, ano. Pati na rin sa hospitalization, bagama’t napupuno na ang ating mga ospital, hindi katulad ng dati na talagang nagpa-panic na kaming lahat,” she said.

“Ngayon ay mayroon pa kaming oras para magdagdag ng kama, kumuha pa ng ventilators, high-flow oxygen at medyo napaghandaan po natin itong Delta variant na ito, ano. So para sa akin, kung mae-extend, hindi ko pa alam. I think, katulad ni VP, let’s wait for the second week of the ECQ to see kung iyong ating mga efforts ay magbe-bear ng fruit,” she added.

No official declaration about an ECQ extension has been made as of now, but there are rumors about the lockdown in Metro Manila likely stretching from two weeks to five weeks.

On Wednesday, Philippine National Police chief Guillermo Eleazar said that the police force is ready for any possibility of an ECQ extension or even expansion outside of Metro Manila.

READ: ECQ extension in NCR? PNP ready for whatever, says Eleazar

The government is currently banking on vaccinations against COVID-19 to usher in herd immunity and combat the current uptick in infections, believed to be caused by the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Experts say that the Delta variant is more contagious than the Alpha variant, which caused the last surge in the country in March. During the Alpha variant-led surge, the country saw its active case count reaching at least 203,000.

On Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) said it recorded 12,021 new COVID-19 infections — the highest in four months, or since that surge from March to May 2021.

This is only lower than the 15,310 new cases recorded last April 2, although that data also includes 3,709 case backlogs.

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Active cases as of August 11 stood at 81,399, which represents 4.8 percent of the 1,688,040 confirmed COVID-19 cases since last year. Of this count, 1,577,267 are tagged as recovered patients while 29,374 are death cases, according to the government.


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

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TAGS: 2019-nCoV, COVID-19, ECQ, Leni Robredo, lockdown, nCoV update, OVP, Philippine news updates, Quezon City

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