MECQ eyed next week if protocols result to lower infections

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By next week, the national government hopes to ease quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and nearby provinces provided that COVID-19 strategies are found to have a significant effect, Malacañang said on Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the NCR Plus area—composed of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal—may be transitioned into a week-long modified enhanced community quarantine or MECQ.

Roque said previous quarantine strategies and those planned to be imposed may help lessen the COVID-19 cases to around 4,000 daily.

“If we impose another week of ECQ, in addition to the bubble and the one week of ECQ that we’ve had already, and if we were to impose another week of MECQ, we are looking at around 4,000 cases a day, which is a tremendous reduction from the 12,000 that we have right now.”

For the part of the Health department, spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said the necessary result should be the downward turn in healthcare utilization rate. She said the figure should drop to at least 60% before quarantine protocols are relaxed.

“For healthcare utilization, we need to see that the utilization will be down to at least 60% before we can say that we are at that safe level,” Vergeire said.

Currently, the overall utilization rate in NCR stands at about 78% to 80%, categorized under the high-risk classification.

The NCR Plus area is kept under the strictest form of lockdown after the ECQ was extended for at least one more week amid the continuous spike in COVID-19 infections.

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