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Pwede namang mag-lockdown mga LGU! Palace rejects health workers’ call for returning Metro Manila to ECQ

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Malacañang has rejected the call of medical frontliners to declare enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila for two weeks to decrease pressure on an already overwhelmed healthcare system.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to place Metro Manila under general community quarantine (GCQ) was a “subject of debate and discussion” by the members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

“The Palace understands the delicate balancing act between public health and the economic health of the nation given that Metro Manila and CALABARZON make up 67% of our economy. The strict lockdown in Metro Manila has served its purpose, and we need to intensify other strategies,” Roque said in a statement Saturday (August 1).

Several medical organizations have asked the administration to revert Metro Manila to ECQ for two weeks amid the surge of COVID-19 patients admitted in hospitals. They said healthcare workers needed to take a breather as well as they’re getting sick and burned out from the increase in cases.

Roque, however, said local government units (LGUs) have been given the authority to declare ECQ in barangays where 80 percent of cases are located. They are also mandated to enforce minimum public health standards, massive targeted testing, intensified tracing and quarantine of close contacts.

LGUs, he added, are also required to adhere to the protocol for handling COVID-19 cases.

“Community quarantine alone, we repeat, is an insufficient response in controlling COVID-19. We are scaling up hospital capacity by increasing allocation of COVID-dedicated beds while hiring more doctors, nurses, and medical-personnel,” Roque said.

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