Next week, it will be a month since Luzon has been placed under community quarantine to contain the spread of COVID-19. But days before its initial end, lawmakers are eyeing a two-week extension citing consensus among medical experts and the business sector.
The decision will come this week as the latest numbers by the Department of Health (DOH) record a total of 3,246 coronavirus cases with 152 deaths and 64 recoveries.
On Sunday, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the extension is necessary because “Lifting it could be premature as it might wipe out the gains we have so far achieved in containing the virus,” he said.
Cabinet Secretary and spokesperson for the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases Karlo Nograles said, their group has discussed the matter and will present a proposal to President Duterte as soon as possible.
“We wanted to see a clearer trend so we deferred it to this week so that we have two days worth of data that we can input in the models created. We will continue the discussions by [Monday]. Hopefully, things will be clearer by then,” Nograles said.
One of the considerations for the recommendation, according to Nograles is the implementation of mass testing, which is slated to begin by Apr. 14.
Based on DOH data, as of last week, 19,000 people have been tested for coronavirus and are now being monitored.
The 15-to-20-day extension is also backed by Vice President Leni Robredo, who noted, however, that “it is crucial that people understand why [the extension] has to be done. If they don’t understand why it is necessary, there will be resistance.”
Header photo courtesy of Grig Montegrande/Inquirer
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Writer: CHRISTIAN SAN JOSE