Malacanang said Thursday a three-week hard lockdown in areas experiencing a surge of COVID-19 cases is not feasible.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque was responding to the reported suggestions to limit movement to those highly essential workers, such as health care workers, to stop COVID-19 transmission.
“Well, sa ngayon po, parang hindi po doable iyan. Dahil nakikita naman po natin na ayaw nating lalo pang dumami ang hanay ng mga nagugutom (We do not see it as doable at this point. We do not want more people to get hungry),” Roque said.
“We are aiming for total health, meaning we want to bring down the number of cases and reduce the number of people getting hungry,” he added.
Roque said the immediate goal is to keep those COVID-19 patients needing hospitalization at 2% of total cases or less to ensure that the healthcare system will not be overwhelmed.
Metro Manila, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to 20.
ECQ is enhanced community quarantine which is tantamount to a lockdown, given that only essential trips and essential services are allowed under this protocol.
Metro Manila has since transitioned to MECQ from August 21 until September 7.
MECQ is the modified enhanced community quarantine protocol which partially allows non-essential services to operate but prohibits dining in restaurants and food stalls as well as personal care services.
As of September 2, the healthcare utilization rate in Metro Manila ranges from 60% to 73%, with the ICU utilization at ward bed utilization rate at 73% and 70%, respectively.
“They are not full and we expect these figures to ease as we increase the number of people who are getting vaccinated against COVID-19,” Roque said.
On Wednesday, Department of the Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the proposal to replace the wide enhanced community quarantine with granular two-week lockdown is now up for final approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Resolutions (IATF).
“For final approval na ito ng IATF (This is already for approval of the IATF),” Malaya said at the Laging Handa public briefing.
“But there is consensus among the different government agencies na instead na malawakang ECQ, ang gagamitin natin ay granular lockdown na lamang,” he added.
(But t there is consensus among the different government agencies that instead of a wide ECQ, the government will just impose granular lockdowns) — RSJ, GMA News