DEFENSE Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday, August 12, reiterated his confidence over the National Capital Region (NCR) returning to general community quarantine (GCQ) once the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) enforced on the area and nearby provinces ends on August 18.
“My statement has a caveat. If trends continue that the new cases decrease, because during my interview, (the case was only) 3,000 (on) the day before, from 6,000 (during) the previous days. That was the trend I was referring to,” he said in a statement.
His statement came after an additional 6,958 novel coronavirus cases were recorded in the country on Monday, August 10 – coincidentally the day he claimed Metro Manila is ready to return to a less stringent quarantine status due to the gradual decline of COVID-19 cases.
“But we still have five days to go before the end of MECQ. I may be proven right yet,” Lorenzana noted.
On Monday, the Defense secretary also noted that the country cannot afford to continue enforcing lockdowns as it would only hurt the economy further.
“Sa katunayan nga, kahapon nagsalita na si (Finance) Secretary (Carlos) Dominguez (III) na ang sabi nya, we have to do something to open up the economy, hindi pwedeng lockdown na lang tayo ng lockdown dahil nga baka mas marami pang mamatay sa gutom kesa sa COVID kung walang trabaho ang mga tao (Yesterday, Secretary Dominguez said we must do something to open up the economy. We cannot go on imposing more lockdowns as many more people might die of hunger than of COVID-19 if people will no longer have jobs),” Lorenzana said.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque likewise admitted that the country’s economy will not be able to withstand a prolonged MECQ.
“Tatapatin ko po kayo, hindi na po kaya ng ekonomiya ang mas matagalan pang lockdown (I will be blunt, the economy cannot withstand a longer lockdown),” he said on August 4.
President Rodrigo Duterte on August 2 placed Metro Manila under a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) again as novel coronavirus cases in the country exceed 100,000.
The quarantine classification took effect on August 4 and will be in place until August 18.
Duterte approved the Cabinet’s recommendation to return to a more stringent lockdown in response to the medical community’s plea for a time-out.
Aside from Metro Manila, the provinces of Laguna, Rizal, Cavite and Bulacan were also placed under MECQ.
Under this quarantine status, strict home quarantine will be observed in all households. There will be no public transport, domestic flights, and mass gatherings. There will also be limited transporting services for essential goods and services.