Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. on Thursday, April 29, cited the National Capital Region’s healthcare utilization and average daily attack rates for the two weeks extension of the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).
“Bumababa po ang mga kaso sa buong bansa at sa NCR pero yung average daily attack rate po ay nasa high risk threshold pa rin dahil ito po ay nasa 19 to 55 new cases per 100,000 per day,” said Secretary Roque in a press briefing.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte earlier approved during his Talk-to-the-People Address the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to extend for another two weeks the MECQ classification of the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite from May 1 to 14, 2021.
Secretary Roque, who also sits as IATF spokesperson, added that while healthcare and ICU utilization rates have improved in Metro Manila, it is still above 70 percent at high-risk threshold in most cities.
“Kaya po two weeks yan eh dahil nakita naman natin na bumababa talaga ang mga kaso dito po sa NCR at ibig sabihin yung attack rate ay nagdadahan-dahan, yung ating R naught na tinatawag ay bumaba na to under 1, pero kinakailangan pa rin nating palakasin lalong-lalo na yung ating mga ICU beds,” said Secretary Roque.
The Palace official said that the Department of Health is taking steps to increase ICU beds. “Hanggang ‘di po natin napaparami yung mga ICU beds natin eh baka masayang yung gains ng isang linggo ng travel bubble, dalawang linggo ng ECQ, at dalawang linggo ng MECQ. Kaya po ito ay hanggang May 14 pa lamang,” explained Sec. Roque.
With the extended MECQ, Sec. Roque said that the IATF will be finalizing the list of additional businesses or establishments that can be allowed open even while under MECQ. “Ito po’y sang-ayon dun sa ating goal na i-promote po ang total health ng mga mamamayan, mabawasan ang mga kaso ng COVID, at itaguyod po ang hanap-buhay ng mga mamayan ng hindi naman sila magutom,” said the Palace spokesperson.
Roque added, “Napakalaki po ng impact ng isang linggo ng travel bubble, dalawang linggo ng ECQ, at dalawang linggo ng MECQ at itong karagdagang dalawang linggo pa ng MECQ. Sabihin na lang natin na itong additional na mga negosyo na bubuksan ay para nga po maibsan yung pagbaba ng ating ekonomiya.”
On additional healthcare capacities, Roque announced that another modular hospital facility will be inaugurated tomorrow, April 30, at the Batangas Medical Center. The said modular hospital will have 10 additional ICU units and 43 additional rooms, of which 21 can be converted to ICU Units, said Roque.
Meanwhile, National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) Deputy Chief Implementer and Testing Czar Secretary Vivencio “Vince” Dizon, said that the target is to add some 3,000 beds for hospitals that can accommodate moderate and severe cases. Sec. Dizon added that the priority right now is to increase critical care beds, while more isolation facilities are also being added.
Dizon also reported some of the gains of the ECQ and MECQ implementation, which include 635 additional health facilities, 23,241 additional COVID-19 beds, 500,000 procured rapid antigen test kits, and 61 percent healthcare utilization rate. Dizon added that there were also an additional 14,668 human resources for health, PhP 7-B obligated for the healthcare workers’ benefits, 107 million PPE sets distributed, and about two million doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered.
In the same press briefing, NTF Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr confirmed the arrival of 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines this morning, April 29. Sec. Galvez also announced the expected arrival of 15,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccine on May 1. Galvez added that a total of 2 million doses of Sinovac is also expected to arrive this May. The Vaccine Czar assured that the country can expect a steady supply of vaccines in May of around four million doses. ### OPS-PCOO