Decision will be made soon
President Rodrigo Duterte is set to decide on the extension or possible lifting or modification of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) based on the recommendations of medical experts and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
In his Thursday press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. clarified that the President has not yet made a decision on whether to continue, lift or relax the ECQ, but confirmed that a decision will be made soon.
“Wala pa pong desisyon ang ating Presidente kung ipagpapatuloy, ili-lift, o ire-relax ang ating ECQ. Ganunpaman, inaasahan po natin ang kanyang desisyon [anumang] oras po ngayon,” said Secretary Roque.
The Palace spokesman also confirmed that the President will be meeting with several members of the IATF today to possibly discuss several points in the framework submitted by the IATF to help PRRD make a decision.
In the same press briefing, Secretary Roque presented the said IATF framework that was submitted to aid the President in his decision making. The framework outlines the various points that are being considered by the President, which according to Secretary Roque finds balance between health and economy or the need to protect the people’s health and the need for them to have a living.
Among the salient points of the IATF framework or recommendations include the need to consider the number of people that will be infected by a COVID-19 positive person, the duration of infection, the peak of infection, the total number of infected persons, the number of severe and critical cases, number of deaths, and the health gains that were already achieved.
“Pagdating naman po doon sa ekonomiya, titingnan natin yung mga sektor ng ating ekonomiya na puwede na sigurong buksan, yung mga tao na pupwede ng pagtrabahuhin at syempre po saan sasakay yung mga tao na pupwede ng magtrabaho,” explained Roque.
Before the President can make a decision, the Chief Executive also has to consider whether we have already established the minimum health standards for the people and whether the health system has the capacity to accommodate more people who might get sick.
The decision will also be based on the geographic risk of outbreak, age and health risks, essential sectors, and public transport.
The Cabinet official further underscored the need to consider the geographic risk of outbreak of an area or locality. “Ibig sabihin, na-identify na po natin…kung ilan yung mga magkakasakit ay depende sa area. At ang tanong nga po is anong kakayahan nung health sector sa lugar na yun na magbigay ng serbisyo,” said Roque.
Roque then cited the IATF’s LGU ECQ recommendation which takes into account the capacity of the health sector of an area to respond to the crisis. According to the recommendation, if an area’s critical care utilization is more than 70 percent, which is identified as “acceleration”, the ECQ is recommended to be extended.
While if the critical care utilization rate is 30 to 70 percent, “pupwede ng magkaroon ng ‘initiation’ or ‘deceleration,’ eto po yung modified o di naman kaya ay relaxed ECQ. Pero kung under 30 percent po yung paggamit ng health sector eh yan po yung tinatawag na “recognition” pupwede ng marelax o di naman kaya tuluyan ng ilift ang ECQ,” Roque stressed. ### OPS-PCOO