Don’t plan that beach trip yet.
The one-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) might not be enough to control the current surge of COVID-19 cases, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said today, adding that the lockdown should last for at least two weeks to change the course of the pandemic.
“As of now we still don’t have any data to support this, that we need to extend [the lockdown] but ideally the ECQ should be at least two weeks so that we can see the decline in the number of cases,” Vergeire said today in the news program Matters of Fact.
Vergeire said that the Department of Health will evaluate at the end of this week if the ECQ will be lifted or extended.
“[But] even with the two weeks, we will not see the sudden decline in the number of cases…because during the July and August surge that we had last year, we have analyzed the figures and we have seen that the cases have declined 10 days after the lockdown [had ended] and [the] healthcare utilization [rate] peaked after two weeks of having the lockdown,” she said.
Metro Manila and several neighboring provinces have been put under the ECQ, the strictest form of lockdown, until Easter Sunday. The decision was made after COVID cases surged early this month, which was reportedly caused by the reopening of the economy and new coronavirus variants.
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte announced last night in a public briefing that he is allowing private companies to purchase their own vaccines while admitting that his government is finding it hard to procure COVID jabs.
“I have ordered Sec. [Carlito] Galvez to sign any and all documents that would allow the private sector to import at will,” he said.
Galvez, the country’s “vaccine czar,” said last night that he could only procure 100,000 doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V, instead of his initial goal of 3 million doses. He, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay plan to speak with the Russian government so that the Philippines can purchase more Sputnik V doses because the vaccine is reportedly safe for senior citizens to use.
Duterte lamented that many countries have been hoarding vaccines amid the pandemic.
“Something has gone wrong with most of the countries. They shanghaied [the doses]. There’s a ruckus going on and the fight for COVID-19 [vaccine] possession is ongoing, is a very serious one,” the president said.
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