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ECQ extended by a week in NCR Plus areas

Amid the continued surge in COVID-19 cases, the government announced on Saturday evening that the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus area, which covers Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, would be extended for a week - starting April 5, 2021 until April 11, 2021.

"Karagdagang linggo, minimum of one additional week beginning on the 5th... one more week at least," said Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. on Saturday.

“Nanawagan din po tayo sa mga lokal na pamahalaan sa lugar na ito na paigtingin ang kanilang reinforcement doon sa ginagawa nating quarantine measures,”  he said.

[We also call on the local government units of these areas to intensify the reinforcement of quarantine measures.]

During the extension, enforcement of the Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat and Reintegrate (PDITR) Strategy would be intensified.

PDITR gatekeeping indicators, along with health care utilization and case numbers, would serve as the parameters to be assessed for the succeeding weeks risk classification.

"The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has been directed to ensure the concerned local government units shall provide these data while the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) have been directed to provide the data in the workplaces and establishments. The Task Group on Management of Returning Overseas Filipinos (TG MROF) shall provide the data on returning overseas Filipinos," Roque explained further.

The Department of Health and the OCTA Research had separately recommended a one-week extension of the stricter quarantine. 

Last week, the government reimposed ECQ over NCR Plus area from March 29 to April 4 following the spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases.

After April 11, Roque said there is a possibility that the restrictions in the NCR Plus areas could be downgraded to a modified ECQ.

"Pero titignan po muna natin ang resulta ng karagdagang ECQ [However, we will first assess the results of the ECQ extension]," he said.

Meanwhile, Roque announced that 110 additional beds for moderate to severe COVID-19 cases will be opened at the Quezon Institute over the weekend while no less than 160 moderate and severe beds will be opened next month.

On Friday, the Philippines reported an all-time high of 15,310 new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

On Saturday, the Philippines has reported a total of 784,043 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 604,905 recoveries and 13,423 fatalities. 

NCR mayors approve of extension

According to Mav Gonzales' report on “24 Oras Weekend,” several NCR mayors expressed approval for the extension.

“Sasangayon ako dahil tuloy-tuloy ang pagtaas at grabe talaga ang pagtaas, ano, at grabe talaga ang pagtaas ng COVID positive dito sa aming bayan,” Pateros Mayor Ike Ponce said.

[I agree because the rise of cases is continuous, and the increase of COVID positive cases here in our city is severe.]

Meanwhile, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said she voted in favor of the extension based on the data and opinion of the medical experts of the city.

This was echoed by Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco and San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora.

“Kung ayan po ang recommendation, kailangan pong pagtulungan na nalang natin na matulungan ang ating mga kababayan,” Tiangco said.

[If that is the recommendation, we need to work together to help our fellow citizens.]

“I would rather we bring down the numbers first to a manageable level,” Zamora, meanwhile, said. —DVM/MDM, GMA News