Gov't justifies lowering quarantine in NCR, Laguna and Bataan despite high cases
The government defended lowering the quarantine classification in the National Capital Region, Laguna and Bataan to from enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) despite an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles told dzBB on Sunday that while COVID-19 cases were going up, especially on Friday, the last day of ECQ, where the all-time high 17, 231 cases were record, the rate of increase has been linear rather than exponential.
MECQ in these three areas will last until August 31.
Nograles said another reason NCR, Laguna and Bataan were downgraded to MECQ is that it allows local government officials to impose granular lockdown in areas where there are clustering of cases.
''They can use antigen testing to make (contact) tracing faster and isolate the infected. If they (local government units) want to give family food packs, it has to be augmented by the government through the Department of Social Welfare and Development,'' he said.
Nograles said balancing health, safety and the economy can be done under MECQ as long as localized lockdowns are done. ''If you say ECQ, it affects everything, economy and livelihood,'' he said.
''The two-week ECQ was very important because we were able to slow down the spread of the Delta variant. Although cases went up from 9,000 to 14,000, 17,000, 16,000 the growth has not been exponential but linear,'' he said.
Nograles said the two-week ECQ, which ended on August 20, allowed the government to speed up the pace of vaccinations.
He said the National Capital Region has been ''45 percent fully vaccinated.'' '' Our target is 50 percent in early September and then all the way up to 70 percent,'' he added.
Nograles said even if COVID-19 cases are high, ''severe, critical and moderate cases are not.''
Mild and asymptomatic cases are 98 percent combined, he said.
''Our experts said the vaccines are working but that does not mean that you cannot be infected,'' said Nograles. DMS