MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN): Metro Manilans may have to stay home longer after April 30, as the number of new coronavirus infections keeps rising with only 10 days left before the extended Luzon lockdown ends.
President Rodrigo Duterte decides this week whether to extend the lockdown or reduce its enforcement to parts of the island with large numbers of coronavirus infections, his spokesperson Harry Roque said on Monday (April 20).
Several senators supported a proposed “selective quarantine, ” but stressed the need for restarting the economy.
But Sen Christopher 'Bong' Go, Duterte’s former longtime aide who is now chief of the Senate health committee, said he was more inclined to recommend the extension of the lockdown in Metro Manila because of the continuing increase in the number of fresh infections in the metropolis.
Go, however, echoed the view of some of his Senate colleagues on easing the restrictions in parts of Luzon with fewer coronavirus cases.
“As a senator, I’m in favour of extending the [lockdown] in the [National Capital Region] because of the increasing [coronavirus] cases. We really have to contain [the rate of transmission] because our health-care system may not be enough if this worsened, ” Go said in a video message.
“In other provinces, it could be lifted and converted to a modified community quarantine. What’s important is to make sure that Filipinos will be able to eat [regularly] because that’s the reason why they are going outside their homes, ” Go said.
Duterte’s decision would be based on the recommendations of health experts and former heads of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, with whom he was meeting on Monday, Roque said.
He said the task force was also meeting to draft recommendations to the President on public health measures and possible loosening of quarantine restrictions to allow a phased resumption of economic activity after April 30.
Duterte is expected to make a decision this week, Roque said.
That decision would balance the state’s duty to protect public health and the citizens’ right to make a living, he added. - Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network