May 8, 2020

All the mayors of Metro Manila are set to discuss the possibility of extending the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in all 17 cities and the remaining municipality to Jun. 15.

It will be held tomorrow May 9 according to Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez, who is also the chair of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) composed of the 17 chief executives in the National Capital Region (NCR).

This comes after some Cabinet members raised the idea of a localized shift to GCQ as some cities in Metro Manila improved health responses.

[READ:General community quarantine, explained]

Nevertheless, Olivarez puts forward that Metro Manila is a very interconnected city and LGUs may grapple with the consequences of lifting quarantine restrictions too early. Thus, all mayors should consider the current status of their efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19 in Metro Manila—the region with the most number of cases.

Olivarez was actually the first mayor to express his support for the ECQ extension, citing the current situation in San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati and Parañaque, which currently have the highest number of coronavirus cases per capita, as subject to serious consideration upon talks of lifting community quarantine.

Following this, he says that they will look into the capacity of local and national government to conduct mass testing.

[READ:PH begins mass testing as COVID-19 cases near 5,000 mark]

So far, the country has only been able to do over 5,000 tests per day–which is far from the DOH’s target capacity of 30,000 tests per day by the end of May. As of writing, the government is increasing mass testing efforts by putting up more testing facilities including four mega swabbing facilities in Manila, Bulacan, Taguig and Pasay.

A few days back, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and other health experts have also said that the COVID-19 has started to flatten, but yesterday (May 7), the country recorded 339 new cases—setting a new record–high in single-day increase of infections.

The mayors’ unanimous decision will be part of MMC’s recommendation to the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on extending the ECQ in the metropolis.

The national government’s COVID-19 task force will then issue their recommendation to President Rodrigo Duterte, who will have the final say on the fate of Metro Manila after May 15.

Of the 10,343 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, 6,709 were recorded in Metro Manila. Last Apr. 24, the ECQ in Metro Manila and other high-risk areas was extended until May 15, while the rest of the country was placed under GCQ.

Header photo courtesy of Inquirer.net

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TAGS: covid-19 DOH Edwin Olivarez enhanced community quarantine francisco duque gcq general community quarantine iatf mass testing metro manila mayors ncr rodrigo duterte