Malacañang is hoping that by keeping Metro Manila under general community quarantine for two more weeks, the country will not reach the 40,000 total number of COVID-19 cases by June 30 as projected by experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) based on their own study.
Interviewed on Unang Hirit on Tuesday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque admitted that the UP experts' projections seem to be "more or less" happening and that their recommendation was taken into consideration when the government decided to keep Metro Manila under GCQ from June 16 to 30.
"Unang-una, bahagyang nasunod ang rekomendasyon ng UP dahil hindi tayo nag-MGCQ (modified general community quarantine)," Roque said. "Sila (UP experts) po yung nagbigay ng warning na pag tayo ay patuloy pang nagluwag ay baka umabot sa 40,000 [ang COVID-19 cases]."
"Inaasahan po natin ngayon na dahil nasa GCQ pa rin tayo at magkakaroon ng localized lockdown ay hindi naman aabot sa 40,000," he added.
In their studies, UP experts had warned that a premature relaxation of quarantine measures may result in the spike of COVID-19 cases by 24,000 by June 15 and 40,000 by June 30. As of June 15, the Philippines has recorded 26,420 cases, or way past the figure the UP experts had predicted for the date.
On Monday night, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he is extending until June 30 the GCQ in Metro Manila and several other areas amid the continued spike in COVID-19 infections in the country.
Local government units, however, are empowered to implement localized lockdowns in areas -- whether barangay, sitio, subdivision or even building -- where a drastic increase in the number of infections is recorded.
"So ang inaasahan natin, dahil mas agresibo na tayo mag-lockdown ng building, zona, subdivision, o barangay na may tumataas na COVID cases, ay inaasahan po natin ang hindi pagsipa ng sakit, hindi tayo aabot sa 40,000 bagama't ang modeling po ng UP ay more or less nangyayari nga," Roque said. --KBK, GMA News