Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Metro Manila and other areas were placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) to prevent the potential surge of COVID-19 cases during the Christmas season.
“There would be more people going out, therefore increasing contact rate, also the transmission rate. There could be a potential surge of cases,” Duque said in an interview on CNN Philippines on Tuesday.
“The IATF thought it best to maintain it para naman nang sa ganun, if we celebrate the Christmas holidays and the New Year, there should still be a measure of caution,” he added.
IATF refers to the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases, the government's policy-making body in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Duque said there should be a sense of awareness among the public that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country may increase during the season.
“To keep it at GCQ, we will, hopefully, forestall or prevent that surge from happening,” he said.
According to Duque, in light of the possible surge in the number of cases, the government is preparing in terms of monitoring and availability of health facilities, among others.
In a public address aired on Monday night, President Rodrigo Duterte announced the further extension of GCQ in Metro Manila until December 31, 2020 to control the spread of COVID-19 over the holidays.
Duterte said the following areas are also under GCQ:
- National Capital Region
- Iloilo City
- Tacloban City
- Lanao del Sur
- Davao City
Meanwhile, Duterte placed the rest of the country under modified GCQ.
—KBK, GMA News