Alarmed over the rising coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, Metro Manila mayors will meet this week to review major policies in their effort to curb the spread of infections.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos said among the policies that will be reviewed are the quarantine status, curfew, and border control.
“We’re going to meet with the OCTA group this week. I’ve informed the mayors yesterday (March 9),” Abalos told CNN Philippines in an interview Wednesday.
When asked if there’s a possibility for Metro Manila to move into a stricter quarantine level, Abalos said: “We’ll see.”
“Actually, it is the recommendations of the health officials, particularly of the DoH (Department of Health) and of the OCTA group. From them, we can formulate certain programs, certain regulations that are really essential,” he added.
Abalos, however, noted that the rise in cases in Metro Manila has been “alarming.”
“We started with 3,700 when we voted for MGCQ (modified general community quarantine) [on] February 22. Yesterday, it’s already 7,000, almost double in two weeks,” Abalos said.
Aside from curfew, border control, and quarantine measures, Abalos said he personally believes that testing and contract tracing should also be reviewed.
QC SITUATION ‘SERIOUS’
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said their situation is more “serious,” after the reported 218 new daily cases in the past week and the detection of at least 17 cases of various virus variants.
Belmonte believed that the detection of 13 cases of United Kingdom variant and four cases of South African variant caused the “rapid spread and surge” that the city is currently experiencing.
“Hindi lang sa sinasabi na nagkulang tayo sa pagsuot ng mask, ng face shield, ng social distancing [kaya tumaas ang kaso]… hindi naman ganyan kataas o kalala ‘yung pagkukulang natin to the point na nagcacause sya ng surge na ganito kalaki,” Belmonte told reporters in an online press conference.
“So, sa tingin ko talaga malaki ang kinalaman ng presensya ng variants na ito sa biglang pagkalat ng sakit na ito,” she added.
The city’s current COVID-19 situation is already “serious,” Belmonte pointed out, that the local government had to impose granular lockdown on several areas to contain the spread of the virus.
From 12 on Tuesday, there are already 14 areas under lockdown in the city, where people — including workers — are not allowed to go out for 14 days.
“We only identified 12 lockdown areas. Kaninang umaga, pagkagising ko 14 na po sila. Ganyan po kabilis ang pagkalat ng virus na ito. We have some barangays as well na ‘yung barangay hall mismo ay lockdown,” she said, noting that three barangay halls have been temporarily shut down to test for COVID-19 its employees.
Data presented by Belmonte showed that the city saw a 190.66 percent increase in its new daily cases. From February 2 to 8, the number is only at 75. But from March to 8, it already reached 218.
The city’s positivity rate also increased during the same period by 132.5 percent — from 4.0 percent to 9.3 percent.
The top three barangays that reported the highest number of increased daily active cases are Batasan Hillls (83), Commonwealth (65) and Pasong Tamo (56).
“Yes, it’s a serious increase. Yes, we should be alarmed. Yes, we should be disturbed,” Belmonte said. She told her constituents to avoid going to crowded places.
Although the city is already experiencing a COVID-19 surge, Belmonte said a city-wide lockdown is still not needed.