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DOH: Ensure LGUs' capacity to handle COVID-19 threat before MGCQ order

Local government units (LGUs) should be capable of handling the threat of transmission of the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 if the proposal to place the entire country under modified community quarantine (MGCQ) will push through, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Monday.

Interviewed on GMA News’ Unang Balita on Monday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the DOH recommended this condition in easing the quarantine classification, during a meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

“Katulad po ng aming binigay na rekomendasyon noong nag-usap ang IATF, if ever na mag-MGCQ, kailangan lang siguraduhin natin that local governments are capable of managing and preventing this transmission of cases,” she said.

On Friday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte may approve the recommendation to place the entire country under MGCQ by March 1.

“Nagkasundo na rin po ang mga alkalde at ang IATF na mag-MGCQ by March 1 kaya baka sumang-ayon na rin ang ating Presidente,” Roque said.

The plan was one of the recommendations made by the National Economic and Development Authority to help the economy recover.

On Sunday, Vice President Leni Robredo questioned the proposal considering the uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

“Ang tanong ko lang: Ano iyong basis, ‘di ba? Ano iyong basis ng MGCQ?” she said.

“Wala namang problema mag-MGCQ kung may basehan tayo roon. Pero kapag tiningnan kasi natin iyong numero, ang taas ng transmission. Wala pa iyong bakuna,” she said.

For Robredo, even if the government eased the quarantine classification and COVID-19 cases are still on the increasing trend, people would not have the confidence to go out and engage in economic activities.

Metro Manila, Cordillera Administrative Region, Batangas, Tacloban City, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Lanao del Sur and Iligan City are under general community quarantine or GCQ for the whole month of February.

The rest of the country meanwhile, is under MGCQ until Feb. 28.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country reached 561,169 on Sunday, the DOH said.

Of this number, 522,843 recovered while 12,088 died. —KG, GMA News