Metro Manila may return to “stricter” community quarantine if hospitals in the capital region hit capacity due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, Malacañang said Monday.
“We go back to stricter quarantine or provide more facilities,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online media forum when asked about the government’s possible action in case of strained hospital capacity.
The National Capital Region (NCR) has been under general community quarantine since June, which entailed easing of restrictions on public transport and businesses in a bid to move the economy forward.
Previously, Metro Manila was under the enhanced community quarantine—the most restrictive form of lockdown—for more than two months.
The Department of Health (DOH) said that it will meet with hospital representatives on Monday to check the situation in their respective facilities.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Monday said state hospitals in Metro Manila are not yet overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases.
However, critical care resources are at "moderate risk level," she said.
Vergeire also said hospital claims of reaching full capacity of COVID-19 patients should be taken with a grain of salt since not all of them have complied with the Department of Health’s requirement that 30% of bed capacity should be allocated for COVID-19 patients.
Based on DOH data as of June 30, Metro Manila’s critical care and isolation bed utilization were at 62.18%, while the doubling time for COVID-19 cases was 8.19 days.
Rising COVID cases
Also on Monday, the DOH said it is strictly monitoring six areas where there has been a spike in COVID-19 cases for the past week, Vergeire said.
Vergeire said these areas include Cebu City, Cebu province, cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu in Cebu, Quezon City and the City of Manila.
“Ito iyong top 6 na tinututukan namin dahil sila iyong nakapagtala ng maraming kaso ng COVID-19 the past week,” Vergeire said in a virtual forum.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III earlier said the country’s economic centers—Metro Manila and Calabarzon—should soon be placed under the more lenient modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) “as quickly as possible” to boost the economy amid the pandemic.
The finance chief also advocated for a targeted lockdown of barangays and companies where there was a high number of coronavirus infections.
Roque, however, said in a television interview last week that the quarantine status of NCR was not downgraded to MGCQ since the case doubling rate must be around 10 days. —KG/RSJ, GMA News