The extension of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and nearby provinces was welcomed by a group of doctors as hospitals continue to be overwhelmed with coronavirus patients seeking treatment.
Dr. Maricar Limpin, vice president of the Philippine College of Physicians, said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to extend the MECQ in the NCR Plus bubble is a “welcome development.”
Metro Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna and Rizal — known collectively as the NCR Plus — will continue to be under MECQ from May 1 until May 14. Meanwhile, Santiago City in Isabela, and the provinces of Quirino and Abra will be under MECQ from May 1 to 31.
“[Nasa 100% capacity] pa rin kami sa emergency rooms, ‘di lang kagaya ng dati na umaabot ng 150% to 200% capacity ang emergency department pero sa ngayon punung-puno pa rin,” Limpin said.
“We are still seeing so many patients kaya talagang welcome ito, ang news na we are still maintaining MECQ,” she added.
Limpin claimed that even their intensive care units are still operating at 100% capacity, a bit far from the figure earlier reported by the Department of Health.
In an interview on Tuesday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the ICU utilization rate has gone down from 86% to 71%, but still “two points short of a moderate risk classification.”
This was one of the primary basis for maintaining the MECQ status, as he noted that cases of COVID-19 have not yet decreased despite the reimposition of lockdown rules in NCR Plus.