• Melo Acuna

Palace: No time-out

Malacanang rejects medical professionals’ request for “time-out”

MANILA – Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said the strict lockdown in Metro Manila has already served its purpose.

In a statement released while the medical professionals were holding their virtual press briefing, Secretary Roque said the August 1-15 general community quarantine (GCQ) classification of Metro Manila has been a subject of debate and discussion 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,” he said in his statement.

He added the strict lockdown in Metro Manila has served its purpose as he underscored the need to intensify other strategies. He explained local governments in Metro Manila has been directed to implement a strict localized lockdown or enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in barangays where 80% of cases are located and called for the publication of these areas.

Secretary Roque said LGUs need to implement stringent enforcement of minimum public health standards, perform massive targeted testing, intensified tracing, quarantine of close contacts, adherence to the implementation of Oplan Kalinga for isolation of confirmed 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,” he explained in his statement.

Strategies on risk communication, social mobilization and advocacy to observe minimum public health standards are being implemented as well.

“We welcome comments of various stakeholders and we will include them in future IATF meetings,” Secretary Roque concluded. (Melo M. Acuña)

Presidential Spokesperson harry Roque (File Photo/Screen grab from RTVM/Melo M. Acuna)

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