The Philippines: Palace: No need to revert to MECQ

  • Despite reports of family clusters being infected by COVID-19, Malacañang reiterated there is no need yet to shift to a stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
  • “Our basis is the capacity to give medical attention to those with serious cases. If we lack ICU beds, of isolation beds in (hospitals), the classification will change,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque, Jr. said in Filipino.
  • Recent statistics do not call for the shift to MECQ, as experts are looking at the daily attack rates and health care utilization rates as barometers before shifting quarantine classification, Roque explained.
  • “There is no reason to close down the economy once again because if we do, many will go hungry,” he said, noting that there’s no reason to impose a tighter classification, especially in Metro Manila, because isolation and ICU beds are still available up to 60% to 65% in major hospitals.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Philippines recorded 9,745 new cases for the past 72 hours, the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the past three days among countries in the Western Pacific.
  • The country also posted the biggest number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities, followed by Japan.
  • Meanwhile, Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) member Dr. John Wong warned of a nine-fold growth in COVID cases by the end of Mar 21 if the UK variant becomes the dominant strain in the country.
  • According to Wong, in terms of transmissibility, the UK variant is more concerning than the South African variant that is reportedly resistant to vaccines.
  • On the other hand, Taguig City mayor Lino Cayetano suggested the removal of community quarantine levels currently imposed in several areas in the country.

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