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Año says extending enhanced community quarantine 'not advisable'

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Monday said extending the enhanced community quarantine due to the threat of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is not advisable as this measure would adversely affect the country's economy.

"'Yung lockdown, hindi advisable na pahabain 'yung lockdown kasi magsa-suffer ng husto 'yung ating economy," Año said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.

"Talagang itong dalawang natitirang linggo na 'to ay seryosohin natin 'to. I tell you maso-solve natin ito, wala lang mga pasaway," he added.

Año said this amid the continuous increase of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, which the Department of Health (DOH) said is expected due to the increased testing capacity.

The DOH has recorded a total of 1,418 confirmed cases, with 71 fatalities and 42 recoveries, as of Sunday.

Año, the vice chairman of the national action plan against COVID-19, explained that there has been a continuous rise on the number of COVID-19 cases because of the release of the results of the testings that were conducted.

"'Yung pagtaas ng ating positive cases ngayon dahil sa dami na ng test kits na nailabas kaya bumilis, ano, pero hindi ito ibig sabihin na talagang tayo ay nagkakaroon ng spiraling o exponential," he said.

He believes that if the government did not impose an enhanced community quarantine, the number of cases in the Philippines could have reached 20,000 by now.

"Kasi nga if we compare our country with other countries like Spain and France and Italy na kung hindi tayo nag-lockdown, sabi ko nga around 20,000 sana 'yung cases natin ngayon," Año said.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine would last until April 14.

Earlier in the day, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said it is still too early to say whether the enhanced quarantine would be lifted or extended beyond April 14.

"Maaga pa [para ma-assess]. Tandaan po natin ang China, 'yung kanilang Wuhan ay nag-umpisa ng kanilang lockdown January 23 and, in fact, restricted pa rin. Ibig sabihin hindi pa rin completely lifted ang lockdown nila after two months," Duque said in a separate interview on Dobol B sa News TV. --KBK, GMA News