MANILA, Philippines — Government should first make a report on the “real status” of the coronavirus pandemic before talking about extending the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed in Luzon, House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said Wednesday.
The report, Zarate said, should not only cover the situation in the National Capital Region (NCR), but the whole country.
“Was it effective? Because, without mass testing being made for those with symptoms—mild or not—those vulnerable groups like the elderly, those communities with COVID cases, the frontline health workers, we will just be shooting blind or shooting an invisible enemy in the dark at the detriment of our people, the poor especially, who are now also staggering from the effects of lack of food and other basic necessities as a result of the lockdown and the militarist solutions implemented by the government,” Zarate said in a statement.
Caloocan City 2nd District Rep. Edgar Erice on Wednesday called on the government to extend the current quarantine for another 30 days. The quarantine will end on April 13.
Erice said that the gains from the current imposition of the quarantine in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) “will all just be wasted” if an extension will not be in place.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier placed the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine as part of the government’s effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Under the enhanced community quarantine, “strict home quarantine shall be implemented in all households; transportation shall be suspended; provision for food and essential services shall be regulated, and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures will be implemented.”
On Tuesday, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who serves as the spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, said that the inter-agency will convene to set the parameters for the 30-day quarantine’s potential lifting, extension or expansion.
“The IATF Technical Working Group (TWG) to be led by the DOH is directed to convene and finalize the parameters for deciding on the eventual total or partial lifting of the ECQ in Luzon, the possible extension of its duration, or its expansion to other areas outside the contained area, subject to the approval, amendment or modification by the IATF,” Nograles said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Department of Health (DOH) said there are 2,084 COVID-19 cases in the country, with the death toll soaring to 88.
A total of 49 patients, meanwhile, were able to recover from the disease.