Gov't eyes selective quarantine under certain conditions
The Philippine government is eyeing the implementation of a "selective quarantine" provided that people should properly follow first the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon, including Metro Manila, an official said.
Carlito Galvez, the chief implementer of the Government's National Policy Against the Coronavirus Disease 2019 said on Sunday night that aside from heeding the ECQ, selective quarantine could be enforced once the government has managed to lessen the number of infections, including deaths.
"There could be a selective quarantine if we will properly follow the ECQ. We can do this if we can conduct massive testing of the suspected cases and the recovery rate of the patients also increases; the number of deaths and new cases decline and there is higher capacity of our local health units to the level that our health workers can react normally, as if there is no crisis," Galvez explained.
Karlo Nograles, Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases spokesperson in a virtual press briefing on Monday, said he agreed with Galvez on the possibility of a selective quarantine if conditions are met.
Nograles, also Cabinet Secretary, lauded President Rodrigo Duterte's immediate declaration of a lockdown to prevent a spike in COVID-19 cases in the country.
"The lockdown really helped a lot," he said.
Dutertedeclared a Luzon-wide ECQ, limiting the movement of the people, starting March 17 and supposedly until midnight of April 13. But he extended the lockdown until the end of April.
Local government units outside Luzon have declared their own quarantine measures to ensure the virus would not infect other people.
Galvez said the effect of ECQ could gradually be felt.
"If we did not immediately enforce the ECQ, our (COVID-19) cases could reach to more than 140,000 to 550,000 from April until June according to the studies of our experts in UP (University of the Philippines) and the international community," he explained.
In order not to waste the sacrifices for the past weeks, Galvez reiterated that people remain at home and not to go out when not necessary.
"This is the most effective way to stop the spread of the virus in our community," he added.
As of Sunday afternoon, the number of COVID-19 cases rose to 4,648, with 297 deaths and 197 recoveries. Celerina Monte/DMS