President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Sunday approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) putting Metro Manila and its nearby provinces in modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) for 15 days.
The President heeded call of the medical community to place the National Capital Region and the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan under MECQ from August 3 to August 18 to arrest the continuous rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections.
Medical frontliners appealed to the government to place Metro Manila and nearby provinces under stricter lockdown for the next two weeks to prevent the collapse of the health care system and for the government to craft a more effective response against the pandemic.
Aside from placing NCR under MECQ, the task force recommended hiring additional healthcare workers as well as the creation of healthcare worker reserve. It also called for the government to enter into memorandum of agreements with private hospitals until December 2020 to deploy healthcare workers to private facilities.
The IATF recommended granting additional benefits to healthcare workers such as P10,000 risk allowance for private sector healthcare workers as well as free life insurance to be included in the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.
Health frontliners will also be given free accommodation and transportation and they will also undergo frequent COVID-19 testing to ensure their safety.
Work and quarantine passes will be strictly implemented to minimize outdoor activities. The public will be encouraged to strictly follow minimum health standards such as mask wearing, observance of social distancing and frequent hand washing.
RT-PCR test will be adopted as the major screening method. The test is considered the gold standard in detecting COVID-19 cases.
Metro Manila has been under general community quarantine (GCQ) since June 1 as the government gradually reopens the economy to prop up economic activity in the midst of the pandemic.
Last week, the President announced that Metro Manila would remain under GCQ for two more weeks.
On Sunday, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 5,032 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infected individuals to 103,185 with 2,059 deaths and 65,557 recoveries. PND